Women Powerless in A Midsummer Night’s Dream
Brady Faria Rubin RWW/ D period 3/14/13 Women Powerless in A Midsummer Night’s Dream A Midsummer Night’s Dream is a comedy by William Shakespeare that takes place in Athens, Greece and in the forest where chaos unfolds on four lovers: Hermia, Lysander, Helena, and Demetrius - Women Powerless in A Midsummer Night’s Dream introduction. In these relationships the men are in power, belittling the women. Also, in the forest chaos happens between the fairies, King Oberon and Queen Titania, because he puts a potion on her and other in which the men are in control of the society they are in.
An example of patriarchy is in the relationships between Theseus and Hippolyta, Lysander and Hermia, and Demetrius and Helena when the men take control. Throughout the play the men have power over the women, as seen through the situations of Helena, Hermia, and Hippolyta. Helena is one of the three women who are treated poorly. She is in love with her old boyfriend, Demetrius, but he is in love with Hermia. Since he does not love Helena, he is mean to her as shown when he says, “For I am sick when I do look on thee. ” (I. i. 19) Oberon sees Helena being mistreated by Demetrius, and then he sends Puck to put a potion on Demetrius to make him woo her. Evidently he believes she is hopeless. By accident Puck puts the love potion on Lysander because he thought Lysander was Demetrius. As a result, Lysander and Demetrius fight over her as if she is a trophy, but she is a person with feelings they are making a mockery of her. Lastly, her marriage with Demetrius is not real because Oberon left the potion on Demetrius meaning that he is not really in love with Helena. Although it is not a natural marriage, Helena enjoys the “love. The help of a man created the “marriage. ” Another woman in this situation is Hermia, right away, her father, Egeus, controls her life. He wants her to marry Demetrius but she is in love with Lysander. Her father demands Theseus, the Duke of Athens, to apply the Athenian law which states a daughter must marry the suitor chosen by her father, or else face death, but Theseus said she also has the choice of being a nun. Later in the play when she is in the forest, Lysander treats her rough by saying that he does not love her anymore and he asks Helena talking about Hermia, “Who will not change a raven for a dove? (II. ii. 121) He thinks that Hermia is a raven because she is an ugly creature. Even in Hermia’s dream he treats her poorly because the serpent eating her heart in the dream is him rejecting her. Finally, once Theseus and Egeus find the lovers in the forest, Theseus has the say in what happens in the marriage. Since Lysander receives the antidote he is in love with Hermia again, yet Demetrius still contains the potion. Now Theseus decrees that Hermia no longer has to marry Demetrius, showing that a man takes charge in her life. As well as Helena and Hermia, a man runs Hippolyta’s life.
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She was in a battle against Theseus and lost causing her to marry him. Theseus forces the marriage; once again a man is in charge of her life. He is excited to be married. On the other hand, she is not thrilled to have this wedding, her response to him saying the wedding is coming fast is, “Four days will quickly steep themselves in night;/Four nights will quickly dream away the time. ” (I. i. 7-8) She thinks that time is going by slowly and does not want the marriage to happen. Additionally, he takes her away from her family and friends forcing her to start her life over.
Moreover, he took her freedom and now she has to assimilate to a new country since she is used to the Amazon. All in all she has no control over her life. Throughout this play the men have taken over the women’s lives choosing everything for them. Overall this play is sexist towards women giving them barely any rights as seen through Helena, Hermia, and Hippolyta. A Midsummer Night’s Dream is a reflection of Shakespeare’s time because in the past it was normal for women to have no rights, and for the men to take control over the women’s lives.