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Women in a Midsummer Night's Dream

  • Date Submitted: 04/18/2010 02:27 PM
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Jennifer Gregory
Shakespeare: Writing Assignment 2
A Midsummer Night’s Dream

The women in Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream are dominant and strong willed, completely different from women’s role during his lifetime.   In this play and in others, Shakespeare wrote his women to be unlike the women of his time.   This leads me to ask, did he deliberately write these women to be independent because he felt that this is how they should be treated in every day life?
In A Midsummer Night’s Dream, the first example of this strong female type is Hermia.   Even though she is a woman, she is ignoring her father’s command to marry Demetrius and is planning on running away with Lysander.   During Shakespeare’s time, the male was the head of household, so for a woman to disobey her father’s ruling was rare.   In the play, her father, Egeus, takes her to the duke, Theseus, to set her straight.   However, even after hearing the duke’s ruling, Hermia still plans on running away with Lysander.   Mixed into this whole affair is yet another strong female presence, Helena.   Helena is in love with Demetrius, and betraying Hermia’s trust in her, tells him of Hermia’s plan to run away in the vain hopes that it would regain his love.   These actions show a strong will and independence to gain what she wants.   In Elizabethan England, women were considered of lower station than men and therefore their wants most often went unfulfilled.  
As the four entangled lovers retreat into the forest, the story introduces yet another powerful female figure in Titania, the queen of the fairies.   She stands up to her husband, the king, during the debate over possession of the boy that was given to Titania.   Not only does the fairy queen refuse her husband the right to take the boy from her, but she also voices her opinion of his former love to Hippolyta.   She is a stubborn character and also acts rashly, when it comes to her magic-infused love for Bottom.  
There is an argument to be made,...

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