Women Characters in Midsummers Night's Dream by William Shakespeare
In Williams Shakespeare's "A Midsummer Night's Dream," many of the play's female characters have strong similarities and differences among one another. Although many of the main female characters in the play come from dissimilar backgrounds, their similarities are brought together by common problems associated with society and love. Of the four main female characters, Hippolyta, Titania, Helena, and Hermia, both Hippolyta and Titania are royalty while Helena and Hermia are commoners. However, a common theme associated with Hippolyta, Titania, Helena, and Hermia, regardless of their social caste, is their similarities and differences in dealing with love in a patriarchal society. Nevertheless, the patriarchal society in which Hippolyta, Titania, Helena, and Hermia live in struggles to hinder the feelings and attitudes which provide them with a distinct conception for love in a male dominated society.
Hippolyta is a strong yet silent amazonian beauty who is the love of Theseus, Duke of Athens. Although Hippolyta is largely silent in her dealings with love in the patriarchal society, her physical presence speaks for the untold voice she might profit from. Of the four main female characters Hippolyta is the more silent of the four. However, since Hippolyta is the maiden of Theseus she bears heavy in the decisions Theseus makes about the love quarrels within the play. From the words of Theseus the reader can associate that Hippolyta has a strong impact on the actions he takes when dealing with love and marriage:
For you, fair Hermia, look you arm yourself
To fit your fancies to your father's will,
Or else the law of Athens yeilds you up-...
To death or to vow of a single life.
Come, my Hippolyta. What cheer my love?
Demetrius and Eugeus, go along.
I must employ you in some business
Against our nuptial, and confer with you
Of something nearly that concerns yourselves. (1.1.117-127)
Although Hippolyta has few lines in "A Midsummer Night's Dream" the expressions and reactions the reader gets from Theseus tell how Hippolyta is able to persuade the actions Theseus takes, as in the quote above. The main difference between Hippolyta and the other three female characters is her ability to speak with her actions instead of her words. Although Hippolyta shares similarities with Hermia and Helena, the association with royalty connects Titania and Hippolyta on a closer level.
Titania is a strong willed fairy who is dedicated to herself rather than her lover Oberon. However, Tatiania is more outspoken about the wrongs a patriarchal society has on love. Titania is royalty, therefore, being royalty helps to insure a greater influence toward a less patriarchal society and movement toward a society in which love is governed by a couples choice rather than a man's choice. Unlike Hippolyta, Titania is more verbally outspoken to her husband, taking...