• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

"Hippolyta and Titania are consorts who defy their Lords, but ultimately submit to their lordship". Examine how Shakespeare treats the female characters and explores the role of women in the play "A Midsummer Night's Dream".

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

"Hippolyta and Titania are consorts who defy their Lords, but ultimately submit to their lordship". Examine how Shakespeare treats the female characters and explores the role of women in the play "A Midsummer Night's Dream". 'A Midsummer Night's Dream' is said to be written between 1594 and 1596. It is also thought it was written around the period 'Romeo & Juliet'. Similarities between the two do occur between the plays, for example the play of 'Pyramus and Thisbe' which is performed by Peter Quince's men has the same tragic ending as 'Romeo & Juliet'. William Shakespeare at this time was the play writer for Elizabeth I .Shakespeare therefore gave the female characters in his plays, some sort of power. By doing this Shakespeare could not irritate the Queen by creating a play which was based on male characters. During the time of Queen Elizabeth I's reign, there were religious tensions between Catholics and Protestants. The Queen tried to treat the two religions equally and by encouraging them to live in peace. (1). Despite her attempts to bring about peace within the religious community, she was ruling a country torn apart by religious tensions. Also during the time of Queen Elizabeth's life was in danger, her cousin, Mary Queen of Scots wanted to have her killed. Fortunately for Queen Elizabeth, her cousins' plot was uncovered and she was tried and sentenced to death in 1597. ...read more.

Middle

Am not I thy lord?" (Act 2 Scene 1). Oberon tries to remind Titania that he is the master and that she ought to respect his wishes and do as she is told. He thinks that because he is the King, no one, even his wife has a right to defy him. Titania answers Oberon with the line: "Then I must be thy lady". (Act 2 Scene 1). Her reply is somewhat sarcastic and ridicules the patriarchal view of the way that women are treated. On the other hand, Hippolyta loses her status as a powerful Amazon queen because Theseus 'wins her' in a fight so she now belongs to him. She is now Theseus' possession and has to agree or go along with whatever he says. However, Titania refuses to be dominated by Oberon, leading to disastrous consequences. By the end of the play, Titania is no longer demanding to what she wants, but she gives in to possess a happy marriage and order in the natural world, Because Titania disobeys Oberon, he subjects her to humiliation by getting Puck to cast a spell on her which makes her fall in love with Bottom who has an ass's head. The nature of this spell seems to indicate that women are rather foolish in falling in love as they usually fall in love with people who have 'ugly' personalities and cannot see beyond the persons' outer self. ...read more.

Conclusion

The Elizabethan theatre consisted of two main types of audience, the higher class and the bourgeoisie (The middle class.)(6) It may be that Shakespeare assumed that the majority of the working class would not understand the hidden meaning of the play and perceive it as simply a comedy. However, the more educated intellects would understand the true issues portrayed in the play and not just the visible thought. There is also the issue of absent mothers. It is apparent that the status of the mother has been removed from the play, there are only fathers or male figures. Men are taking away the importance of motherhood from the females in early modern England which is represented in the play. When Titania brings up the Indian boy, Oberon takes him away, by having Puck place a love potion on her so that her attention is diverted from fostering the boy. There is a cultural change from matriarchy to patriarchy where Titania's right to be a mother has been taken away by a man. Overall, 'A Midsummer Night's Dream' can be argued to be a representation of patriarchy in early modern England. The male characters are overtly concerned about their position in society concerning gender stereotypical roles. As a means of controlling their insecurities, they do everything they can to make sure that their female partners will not be able to defy them even if humiliation and degradation of their are the only ways to help them stay in power. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level A Midsummer Night's Dream section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level A Midsummer Night's Dream essays

  1. Why is Bottom such a well-loved character? Explain with reference to 'A Midsummer Nights ...

    Where as Oberon's and Titania's relationship how the harmony of the world is effected and upset when their relationship is at a rough time, showing that the spiritual world has powerful purpose of the world, when their relationship is at a good time the world is running smoothly and all

  2. The Nature of Power in 'A Midsummer Night's Dream'.

    young men always played the female roles in Shakespeare's time), and Snug needs lines to play a lion when all he has to do is roar. The players are also frightened by the concept of being too realistic, and believe they would be hanged if the lion were to roar so well that it would scare the ladies.

  1. How Does The Relationship Of Titania And Oberon Reflect That Of The Other Relationships ...

    Hermia who is in love with Lysander falls sufferer as Lysander now loves Helena. Lysander has had a love spell put on him but Hermia does not know. 'O me, you juggler, you canker- blossom You thief of love. What, have you come by night And stolen my love's heart from him?'

  2. A Midsummer Night's Dream is an exploration of thematic opposites such as day/night, love/freedom ...

    "It appears, by his small light of discretion, that he is in the wane: but yet in courtesy, in all reason, we must stay the time" The Mechanicals' performance for the duke could signify how the rich exploit the poor.

  1. Read again act 3 scene 2, write a detailed study of this scene drawing ...

    to being compared to God's "...Venus of the sky... (Act 3 scene 2 verse 107)," which is a transformation of being compared to a dog which was seen as the bottom of the Hierarchy within the Elizabethan society to being compared to the Gods which seemed at the top of the hierarchy.

  2. Free essay

    Midsummer nights Dream: How important is the character of Hippolyta in establishing the role ...

    Although Hippolyta does not have much more dialogue until later on in the play, her simple presence is enough to alter the mindset of Theseus, a good example of this being shown in the same scene when Egeus is trying to persuade Hermia that she must marry Demetrius as apposed

  1. How does Shakespeare make men appear stronger than women in his play "A Midsummer ...

    To avoid punishment from the Duke, they both flee the nearby forest just outside of Athens were they are followed by Helena and Demetruis. The problems start to arise when Puck, the henchman of Oberon places a love potion in the wrong athenians eye.

  2. 'A Midsummer Night's Dream'

    They even continue each other sentences rhyming, but after the many incidents that occur, they soon lose this closeness of response. HERMIA: I frown upon him; yet he loves me still HELENA: O that your frowns would teach my smiles such skill!

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work