Male Domination In A Midsummer Night

’s Dream Essay, Research Paper

Male Domination

For many centuries women have been oppressed, and treated like second-class citizens. Over the years, women have earned more rights and have been recognized as equals to men. Although they have earned many things, there are still some signs of them being oppressed by societies that are still mainly dominated by men. The period when Queen Elizabeth was ruling over England was no different. She was a big supporter of William Shakespeare and his acting company. William Shakespeare was one of the first feminist writers. William Shakespeare wrote the play A Midsummer Night?s Dream. The women in the play have no power and there is nothing they can do. The men use their power to control the women and almost mess up many people?s lives. In the play A Midsummer Night?s Dream by William Shakespeare, male domination is displayed in the relationships, Theseus winning Hippolyta, Egeus controlling Hermia, and Oberon tricking Titania.

Theseus won Hippolyta in battle and doesn?t care about her feelings. Theseus is the Duke of Athens and is the governing power of all the humans in the play. Hippolyta was the Queen of the Amazons, but was then conquered by Theseus and his army.

?Hippolyta I wooed thee with my sword,

And won thy love, doing thee injuries;

But I will wed thee in another key,

With pomp, with triumph, and with reveling.? (1.1.16-19)

Theseus won her in death and destruction but will marry her with joy and happiness. Hippolyta is now going to marry Theseus against her will. Theseus is in love with Hippolyta and is convinced she loves him. Hippolyta is upset that she was taken away from her old way of living and is now dreading the day when Theseus and her are married. ?Four days will quickly become immersed in night./ Four nights will quickly dream away the time? (1.1.7-11). Hippolyta thinks that everything is moving too fast and wants time to think about the marriage. To Theseus Hippolyta is a prize that he won in battle and she is his to control. Hippolyta was pulled from her life as Queen of the Amazons, one that she probably ruled and had say of what she did. Hippolyta is now forced into a life where she has no say over one thing that happens to her. She is now going to be controlled by a man and have no power whatsoever. Although Hippolyta was a woman of great power, she is now reduced to a possession, and is owned by a man who can do with whatever he wants.

Egeus is controlling his daughter, Hermia, and would rather see her die than go against what he wants. Hermia and Lysander are in love, and want to be married. Egeus doesn?t approve of Lysander, and wants to make Hermia marry the man he approves of. Egeus doesn?t care who his daughter choices or who will make her happy, he just wants her to marry who he likes, and who he thinks will make her happy. Since Hermia will not let in to Egeus? demands, Egeus goes to Theseus ask for help:

?I beg the ancient privilege of Athens:

As she is mine, I may dispose of her,

Which shall either be to this gentleman

Or to her death, according to our law

Immediately provided in that case.? (1.1.41-45)

Egeus is asking Theseus to allow him to use an old law that states since Egeus ?owns? Hermia she either has to marry the man that Egeus picks, or she will be put to death. Egeus would rather put his daughter to death than let her marry someone against his wishes. He doesn?t care what she has to say or what Lysander says. Theseus gives Hermia three choices, ?Either to die the death, or to abjure/ Forever the society of men.? (1.1:65-66). Hermia also has the choice to marry Demetrius, which she says she will never do. Theseus gives Hermia the choice to either die, or never have the company of men again, and join a convent. Egeus is being very stubborn and ignorant to do this to his daughter. He should be happy that she found someone she loves. Instead he is trying to force love on her. Egeus is using his own daughter as property that is to be given away and controlled.

The third way male domination is shown is the relationship between Oberon and Titania. Oberon tricks Titania to get what he wants. Oberon is the King of the Fairies and Titania is the Queen of the Fairies. Oberon wants Tiatnia?s changeling and will do anything to get the changeling from her. Titania will not give the changeling to Oberon because the changeling?s mother was a good friend of Titania. After her death Titania promised to take care of the changeling. Oberon would give anything to have the boy, but Titania will not give him to Oberon.

OBERON. Give me that boy, and I?ll go with you.

TITANIA. Not for your fairy kingdom. Fairies, let?s be off!

We will outright if I stay any longer. (2.1.143-145)

Even though Titania has made it clear that she does not want to give Oberon the boy, but Oberon doesn?t care. Oberon sends his friend Puck to get a love potion, which he puts on Titania?s eyes. Titania then falls in love with an ass, and when Oberon takes the spell away she is very embarrassed. Because of her embarrassment she gives the changeling to Oberon. This shows the power that men had, and how they use it to trick and hurt women and other people of lesser power.


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