Midsummernights Dream Essay, Research Paper
In act two of this play, the reader learns of a quarrel between the king of the fairies, Oberon, and his queen, Titania. We later see the development of this quarrel into a dispute which the king is intent on resolving along with that of two passing mortals whose conversation we happen to overhear. Through the scene, we see Oberon’s character develop into a fairly well -rounded personality, and we see the set up for the main plot of the entire play.
Oberon wishes to drop love blossom juice into Titania’s eyes so that he can gain back his wife’s affections. In the beginning of this act, we see that Oberon is jealous that Titania’s attention and time has been spent with her new page. By putting the Queen under the spell of this flower, causing her to look the fool, and then relinquishing her from this spell, the king is certain she will concede and “make her render up her page to [him]. (2.1.185)”
With the beginning of this act, we see Oberon as a jealous creature who feels that because he has control over nature, he should also have control over his wife. Early in the act, at the first entrance of Oberon and Titania, we first see this bitterness emerge. “What jealous Oberon, skip hence. I have foresworn his bed and company. (2.1.62)” Says Titania when she first sees Oberon, basically telling him to get out of here. To which Oberon replies: “Tarry, rash wanton; am I not thy lord? (1.2.63)” Oberon’s response here shows his dominant attitude towards Titania, and her initial statement shows she is mad at him, and has no intention of submission to his will. They go on like this for quite awhile, with Titania accusing Her mate of adultery, and Oberon saying the same of her. They continue to argue for many lines until Oberon finally commands her to leave and asks Puck to enter (2.1.146 – 154).
The dialogue at the beginning shows us the start of this clever subplot and also sets up the comedy that ensues later in the play. Also, it appears Oberon shows a tender side as he takes pity on Helena, perhaps understanding her situation with Demetrius. Helena is in love with this man, who does not return the favor, and given Oberon’s recent trouble gaining Titania’s affections, he seems to want to help. He instructs Puck that after he puts the nectar in Titania’s eyes, he should seek out Dimetrius and “Anoint his eyes / But do it when the next thing he espies / May be the lady. (2.1.261 – 3)” This gesture by Oberon seems to show that he is taking pity on the poor mortal, perhaps to make himself feel better about his current situation with his own Love.
This first scene of act two beautifully sets up the plot for the rest of the play. We see the gods begin to interact with the mortals, and see that they are prone to human problems which makes their mistakes later in the play more believable, as gods are usually believed to be infallible. Through the entire scene, Oberon’s character develops from a heartless ruler, to a kinder man intent on fixing not just his own problems, but those of the mortals who are oblivious to his presence.