The Duchess Of Malfi And William Shakespeare 's A Midsummer Night 's Dream

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John Webster’s The Duchess of Malfi and William Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream women react to authority in significantly different ways. The authors focus both on women showing acceptance to power and women who shy away from it.
In the plays, the Duchess and Hermia defy the abuse of power, while Helena and Cariola submit to it. In John Webster’s The Duchess of Malfi, Webster uses the Duchess to signify courage and Cariola to signify faintheartedness throughout the play. The Duchess has recently lost her husband, the supreme ruler of the land, and has the option to remarry someone else into power. However, the Duchess’s brothers, Ferdinand and the Cardinal, do not want her to remarry to allow themselves to take the power of the
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Additionally, Helena follows Demetrius to beg him for love. Fairies discover Demetrius and Helena while she begs him to take her back, and they take matters into their own hands and use a magic flower to make Demetrius fall in love with her. However, the fairies make a mistake and use the magic flower on Lysander causing him to fall in love with Helena; then, the fairies try to fix their mistake by using the flower on Demetrius to make him fall in love with Helena. This sturs fights between the men with their love for Helena. Finally, the fairies fix their mistake and remove Lysander’s love for Helena and restore his love for Hermia. In the end, Theseus comes upon the four lovers in the woods and lifts the burden off of Hermia allowing the lovers to fall be in love with whomever they choose. In both plays, a courageous woman who defies authority present themselves in the play. In The Duchess of Malfi, the Duchess gets told to not remarry, but she defies her brothers and gets married immediately. Shall this move me? If all my royal kindred lay in my way unto this marriage, I’d make them my low footsteps: and even now, even in this hate, as men in some great battles, by apprehending danger, have achieved almost impossible actions, so i through frights and threatenings will assay this dangerous venture. Let old wives report I winked and chose a Husband.
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