Love And Gender In A Midsummer Night's Dream

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Shakespeare was a theatrical genius; bewitching audiences everywhere with his artful language. Even his lightest plays have serious undertones to them. Each one depicts life as it once was, complete with the rules and expectations which were common at the time. In A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Shakespeare reflects society’s views on love and gender, both in his own time and in ancient Athens. The play opens with a conversation between Theseus and his fiancée, queen Hippolyta. Both of them are important mythological figures. According to Athenian legend, Theseus seized the Amazonian queen with the help of Heracles: "I wooed thee with my sword / And won thy love doing thee injuries" (I.i.18-19). Theseus had a history of violence towards…show more content…
This is a very powerful action on her part, and it shows just how devoted they are to each other. The couple discusses the fleeting nature of love, class distinction, age difference, and the opinions of family and friends as barriers in the way of forming relationships. Even today, our culture is still working to accept interracial couples, same sex couples and polyamory. As Lysander puts it in his famous phrase: “The course of true love never did run smooth…” (I.i.136). His words are just as applicable now as they were over 400 years ago. Meanwhile, Helena is still deeply in love with Demetrius; no matter how much he rejects her, she will still keep trying to win back his affections. In fact, she tells him to: “Use me but as your spaniel; spurn me, strike me, neglect me, lose me; only give my leave, unworthy as I am, to follow you” (II.i.205-207). Such a submissive attitude was common during the time, and regrettably still is. She cares for him all the more because his love is unattainable. This could be why Demetrius left her in the first place, for the thrill of the…show more content…
The sprites maintain a utopian realm, and the female and male fairies have equal worth. Until recently, king Oberon and his wife Titania ruled in peace. That is until their domestic dispute over the custody of a young changeling boy. Their fight prompts jealousy on both sides, wreaking havoc on nature. This shows how such a trivial argument can lead into something which is chaotic and harmful. Oberon devises a plan to get back at his wife, and asks Puck, a mischievous brownie, for his help. “I’ll watch Titania when she is asleep, / And drop the liquor of it [a magic flower] in her eyes: / The next thing then she waking looks upon… / She shall pursue it with the soul of love” (II.i.178-182). This quote explains how the duo meddle with love. They cannot help but notice how unhappy a certain mortal named Helena is. She has been chasing Demetrius through the woods in despair: "Your wrongs do set a scandal on my sex: / We cannot fight for love, as men may do; / We should be wooed and were not made to woo" (II.i.240-243). Her words voice a deep rooted difference between men and women in the Renaissance era. Men were thought to be adventurous, chivalrous and powerful, while women were expected to be subservient and gentle. Thankfully, women are now breaking free of their confinement, all these centuries
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