Midsummer Essay

Submitted By ruanbad31
Words: 864
Pages: 4

Ruan Badenhorst
ENG 1D
Ms. Stonier
April 24, 2013 A Midsummer Nightmare for Sexist Men
During the Elizabethan era, women were considered a possession of men. They were expected to marry a suitor chosen by their father and then obey their husband for the remainder of their life; divorce was considered a sin. In the play,
A Midsummer Night’s Dream
, the playwright, William Shakespeare, insults these sexist traditions, making his female characters feminists. The major female characters are rebellious and independent, refusing to be treated like possessions. First, Titania shows her independence from male domination in a variety of ways throughout the play,
A Midsummer Night’s Dream
. Titania says, “And for her sake I will not part with him.” (2.1.142) and “We shall chide downright if I longer stay.” (2.1.150) This quote from the play is referring to the conversation between her and Oberon when she defies his wishes, refusing to give him the changeling boy she took in after his mother’s death. Titania shows affection towards the boy, which makes Oberon jealous. He wants to take the boy from Titania and make him his henchman, however, Titania refuses to forfeit the child because she cares for the boy. Until she is put under the spell of Cupid’s flower which makes her forget her love for the child, she stands by her decision despite Oberon’s constant demands. Further proof of
Titania’s feminist personality is when Oberon keeps demanding the boy from her, she decides to sleep away from her husband in the nearby forest. This is not typical behaviour for a woman in

those sexist times, as women were expected to do as their husbands told them. Titania shows strong character and independence through these actions. Badenhorst­2
Helena’s rebellious and independent attitude is not as prominent compared to the other females in the play, however she is just as strong­willed. Unlike Hermia, Helena’s father is not present in the play, however, it was customary during this era for the husband to be chosen by the girl’s father. Helena looking for a husband herself is not typical behaviour for an Athenian women. She also chooses to pursue the man she loves, not a man who is chosen for her. Helena’s character shines through her decision to continue pursuing Demetrius, despite his condescending and rude behaviour towards her. He says, “Hence, get thee gone, and follow me no more.”
(2.1.201)and “For I am sick when I do look on thee.” (2.1.218­219) Helena loves Demetrius so much that she disregards his rejections. It is directly after the conversation quoted above, that
Oberon sees how much she loves Demetrius and orders Robin Goodfellow to make Demetrius fall in love with her by using Cupid’s flower. Helena is persistent and refuses to give up on her beliefs, no matter who tries to sway her actions. Finally, Hermia’s actions and decisions in the play show that she does not believe in male domination and that she is willing to die in her attempts to rebel against it, and marry the man she loves. At the start of the play, Hermia's father, Egeus, enters the chambers of the duke of
Athens, Theseus, and informs him of his daughter’s disobedience. Hermia refuses to marry
Demetrius, the man Egeus had chosen for her. She is offered a choice between living in chastity

(becoming a nun) for the rest of her life, being executed, or giving in to the Athenian tradition of arranged marriage. Theseus…