A Midsummer Night’s Dream By William Shakespeare

1429 words - 6 pages

William Shakespeare is considered one of the most influential playwrights of all time. Shakespeare has written 37 plays, one of which is considered people’s most favorite play, the comedy “A Midsummer Night’s Dream.” A Midsummer Night’s Dream is believed to have been written between 1590 and 1596. “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” takes place in Athens in an ancient Greece and is a lighthearted, magical toned play. The play starts with the Duke of Athens, Theseus and Hippolyta preparing for their nuptials. Egeus seeks Theseus intervention and brings Lysander, Demetrius, and Hermia to Theseus in Act I, Scene 1 to "beg the ancient privilege of Athens" because Egeus daughter Hermia, will not agree to his choice of Demetrius as a husband, a young man of a noble Athenian family. Hermia is not in love with Demetrius, but loves another man of a noble Athenian family named Lysander. Egeus disapproves of Hermia’s choice of Lysander and appeals to Theseus to force Hermia to marry Demetrius. Egeus is asking Theseus to apply the Athenian law, which would send Hermia to her death for not abiding by her father's wishes. Theseus choses to allow Hermia to choose her fate: she can die, marry Demetrius, or become a nun. Hermia responds that she would rather become a nun than marry Demetrius. Theseus gives her four days to think on her decision. Here is where the law verses true love comes into play, Egeus character illustrates the play’s theme of law. Egeus refuses to listen to his daughter and demands she marries Demetrius or else die. Hermia embodies the opposition to the law and her father’s wishes; here is where Hermia character illustrates the plays theme of true love. She is a strong-willed young woman in love with Lysander and determines she is going to be with him or choose her own fate. An analysis on the father and daughter relationship of Hermia and Egeus in the play “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” will show that Egeus represents law. Hermia embodies opposition to the law and opposes father, thereby representing true love.
“A Midsummer Night’s Dream” reflects on relationships between the sexes in regards to courtship, marriage and parenthood. As we analyze Egeus character, Egeus embodies the Athenian law, which is patriarchal and cruel. The law belittles women as if they have no feelings. Egeus only appears in two scenes in “A Midsummer Night’s Dream.” In both scenes, Egeus voices his paternal authority and his personal choice for Demetrius complaining of his daughter Hermia’s love for Lysander by informing Duke Theseus to invoke the law of the Athens to make her marry Demetrius or be put to death. Did Egeus have the right as a father to use the Athenian law in this matter? The play takes place in ancient Greece. Shakespeare’s play depicts a time when the system of Aristocratic rule was in place. According to this system of government Theseus, the Duke would be able to dictate his wishes to his subject. This explains why Theseus was able to sentence Hermia...

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