A Midsummer Night’s Dream, by William Shakespeare, is a play that illustrates a good picture of woman’s lack of freedom. It is a story of several couples, among which there is a fairy king, Oberon, who proves his sovereignty over the queen of the fairies, Titania. The two have an ongoing conflict about who should keep the Indian boy, whose mother had recently died. Titania doesn’t want to give him up because she and the boy’s mother knew each other very good; whereas Oberon has no relations to the boy, but really wants him as a servant. Ultimately, Oberon wins the boy by using a trick of his on Titania, revealing her weakness. Shakespeare uses Oberon to show this power of man over woman and to expose woman’s unheard, meaningless, and feeble opinions through Titania. In several scenes throughout the play, the female character, Titania, struggles to do as she desires; however, Oberon takes things under his control and helps to portray the female as weaker than the male.
Titania repeatedly refuses to give up the Indian boy and Oberon decides to take action in bringing his insidious plan to reality. While talking to Puck, his fairy prankster, Oberon tells him: “Having once this juice, / I’ll watch Titania when she is asleep, / And drop the liquor of it in her eyes. / The next thing then she waking looks upon, / Be it on lion, bear, or wolf, or bull, / On meddling monkey, or on busy ape, / She shall pursue it with the soul of love” (Shakespeare II.i.176-182). This evil plan shows connections to woman being mistreated. In other words, Titania is being shown as a nobody, as Katherine Koci, author of Feminism in a Patriarchal Society, has stated that a woman is “the equivalen...
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...f gender; that of the misogynistic patriarchal society, and that of a young woman trying to break free from the forceful bonds of the ever-superior male” (Koci), although there is an obvious difference in power between man and woman. Titania is a much weaker character than Oberon, which was normal back in the day. From the very beginning, the female was characterized as an obedient one to man in every way, with no say in anything. But over the years, with the changes in our society, women have been given the same rights and freedom as men; therefore changing the tradition of the weak woman to the one just as powerful as a man.
Koci, Katherine. “Feminism in a Patriarchal Society.” University of Arkansas – Fort – Smith.
http://www.uafortsmith.edu. Nov. 10, 2009.
Shakespeare, William. A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Austin, TX: Holt, Rinehart, & Winston, 1993.
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