Controlling Others And Its Consequences Essay

861 words - 3 pages

Everyone, whether inadvertently or not, has an influence on others. However, when one’s guidance surpasses suggestive recommendation and enters a realm of ________, many problems can arise. This mistake is evident in several instances throughout Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream. To control others is to “exercise restraint or direction over; to dominate or exile” (DICTIONARY). This type of behavior is visible in the play in three different forms: sexism, possessive ownership, and magical influence. This essay will highlight the ways in which Theseus, Egeus, and Oberon, respectively, portray these forms of controlling tone through their actions, as well as the consequences that come to light as a result of their conduct.
Sexism and “male dominance” are recurring themes throughout the play that cause resentment and conflict between characters. Some characters believe that trivial factors such as gender are reason for others to be oppressed. A prime example of this type of discrimination is the forced relationship between Theseus and Hippolyta. It is clear from the beginning of the play that Hippolyta is neither enthusiastic nor excited about her upcoming wedding with Theseus, despite the latter’s obvious anticipation. Theseus is absolutely ignorant of his future wife’s feelings, and even goes as far as to insensitively remark, “Hippolyta, I woo’d thee with my sword, / And won thy love doing thee injuries” (I. i. 16-17). This shows that he hardly regards her as a person, and more as a conquest from one of his exploits. To him, their marriage is nothing but a victory and reward earned by violently forcing an innocent woman to be his wife. The fact that he would use such means to make Hippolyta marry him proves that he has little respect for her and for women in general. Moreover, Theseus continues by saying, “But I will wed thee in another key, / With pomp, with triumph, and with reveling” (I. i. 18-19).

Another type of behavior exemplified by characters in the play is that of possessive ownership – the belief that others are belongings, rather than people. The most obvious example of this action is the rigid controlling of Egeus over his daughter, Hermia. He and Hermia have very conflicting views on her two suitors, Lysander and Demetrius. Hermia loves Lysander, but Egeus believes that she will do better to marry Demetrius. He demands in front of the duke that Hermia submit to his wishes, saying, “Be it so she will not here, before your grace, /...

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