The Absence of Hermia and Helena

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Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream contains values and laws of a time where fathers, and men in general, hold a lot of power over women. Hermia and Helena are used as tools to enhance the power of the role of the father and masculinity in the world Shakespeare has created. At the start of the play Helena and Hermia are both popular characters, speaking frequently and constantly at the center of attention. Once the events in the greenwood take place, Helena and Hermia’s role is diminished and their voices are hardly heard in the remaining two acts of the play. This shift of focus displays how Hermia and Helena are symbolizations of the impact of the role of men on a woman’s life, and it rejuvenates love as being more important…show more content…
However, once Oberon enchants Titania, he is able to control her romantic feelings towards Bottom, again reiterating how men are dominant when it comes to love in Shakespeare’s play. Hermia is expected to blindly follow her father’s wishes, and then Theseus’, and her will is completely disregarded. Thus far, in the play there has been a clear power struggle between the female characters and the male characters about whom they get to end up with in the end. Values of true love fall short of those pertaining to male dominance, which is shown initially by the lovers and reiterated with Oberon and Titania. Once the notion of male dominance and the clear supernatural link with the lovers’ correct pairs is determined in the greenwood, the play advances to the concluding Acts where marriage occurs. James Calderwood discusses the idea of an anamorphism in the play, and discusses that “since the affairs in Athens can’t be entirely resolved until the day of the wedding, what happens in the forest is a kind of embedding or, more precisely, a recursive function” (Calderwood 1991). He goes on to explain that what happens in the forest controls the wills of the lovers, but doesn’t actually enact any change in the actions of Egeus or Theseus until further notice. “Puck’s and Oberon’s machinations only make the lovers at the end of Act 4 willing to
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