A Midsummer Night’s Dream opens as Theseus, Hippolyta and Philostrate are together discussing the wedding between Theseus and Hippolyta. Thesus complains about how their wedding is four long days away but Hippolyta counters and says that the days are going to go quickly and they will be married very soon. At this point it is obvious to see that Theseus is very excited for the wedding and Hippolyta is not as thrilled. They continue to discuss their wedding and their life after they get married, telling Philostrate and presumably the other guests present to leave. Not even five lines are read before the two are quickly disrupted by Egeus along with Hermia, Lysander and Demetrius. Egeus is distraught because his daughter is in love with Lysander and not Demetrius, whom he has given consent to marry his daughter. He wishes to enforce Athenian law on his daughter which would mean that she would be executed if she did not marry Demetrius, the man her father wishes she would marry. Before Theseus and Hippolyta were thrust into this love triangle Theseus was speaking to his bride-to-be about how they fell in love and have gotten to this point. Theseus stated:
Stir up the Athenian youth to merriments.
Awake the pert and nimble spirit of mirth.
Turn melancholy forth to funerals;
The pale companion is not for our pomp.
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. (A Midsummer Night’s Dream 1.1.17-20)
I wish to discuss how Theseus is addressing Hippolyta and why he is discussing how he literally won her heart. This sets up the rest of the play and the possible hostility that co...
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... his daughter’s hand to marry but she does not agree with what her father wants for her. I think that this love story is just as interesting as that of Theseus and Hippolyta, although it may not be as straight forward as their marriage is. This comparison of two different forced marriages may be a small part of this play but I think that it is a very interesting match.
I wonder how this story would play out if neither of these marriages had trouble getting off the ground. Although it doesn’t seem like Hippolyta and Theseus have issues thus far it is important to realize what situation they are a part of. It seems to me that they are in what would considered today an abusive relationship. I think that the theme of love and aggression at the very beginning of the play sets up a different type of culture and atmosphere when Theseus talks of how he conquered Hippolyta.
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