A MidSummer Night's Objectification

2440 Words10 Pages
In today’s society, women have almost achieved equality. However, there was a time when women weren’t really viewed as women, but instead as objects. Around the time of many of Shakespeare’s plays, Queen Elizabeth was ruling England, which was a large step towards the de-objectification of women. While many people attempted to keep women under the heels of men, some people started working towards a change. Shakespeare uses his play “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” to comment on the objectification of women and feminism. In “The Traffic in Women: Notes on the “Political Economy” of Sex” Gayle Rubin discusses a woman’s role in a capitalist society. She first talks about Marxist ideas. She says that women are often not considered part of the work force, and that their duties best reside in the house. She says that Marx believes that “the difference between the reproduction of labor power and its products depends, therefore, on the determination of what it takes to reproduce the labor power.”(Rubin 162) Basically, workers need means to recharge. They need things like food, clothing, housing and fuel. What Rubin argues is that none of these things can be considered sustenance the way they are given. “Food must be cooked, clothes cleaned, beds made, wood chopped, etc.”(Rubin 162) Extra labor must be done, which isn’t worked into the equation. Because women are the ones at home doing the housework, and their work isn’t considered, they often account for the “surplus value” realized by the capitalist. In short, women are a possession of the capitalist. A woman as the property of the state is also seen in “A Midsummer Night’s Dream”. In act one scene one, Theseus, Duke of Athens, has a claim to the future of Hermia. Hermia ... ... middle of paper ... ... to tell whether Shakespeare is promoting the objectification of women, or speaking out against it. However, even with the few moments of ambiguity, Shakespeare appears to be saying that women in his society have come a long ways since the time his play was set in. Queen Elizabeth is proof positive enough that women can be strong and need not be use as objects for men’s fancies. Shakespeare has proven himself as a progressive person throughout his plays and sonnets. “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” is another one of Shakespeare’s works that quietly calls for change. Shakespeare would have been unable to stand on a soap box and shout about his beliefs of a liberated woman, but he was able to use “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” to subtly make his point. As we can see in today’s society, women have come a long ways, but once again, there is still further work to be done.
Open Document