Treatment of Women in Society in a Midsummer Nights Dream

1775 Words Feb 11th, 2011 8 Pages
Treatment of Women in a Midsummer Night’s Dream
The general treatment of women in ancient times such as the Elizabethan and the Ancient Greek era varied in great degrees from the treatment of women in the contemporary twenty-first century. In more ancient eras, women were generally viewed as men’s property and not as individual human beings. Women were not even allowed to choose their spouse. It was common that this type of arrangement was made by their family, and the determining factors were usually age, social status and wealth. In A Midsummer Night’s Dream Hermia jeopardizes the future of her entire family with the refusal of marriage to Demetrius and also goes drastically against the ruling society of her time. It was unthinkable for
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Titania objects due to personal connections to the boy. This results in Oberon applying the juice to Titania’s eyes and hoping that the first thing she sees will be an abomination. Coincidently, there is a troop of actors in the area hoping to perform for a wedding. The play is entitled Pyramus and Thisbe, which is basically the ancient Greece version of Romeo and Juliet. During a scene Nick, the thespian portraying Pyramus, is waiting for his entrance. As Puck discovers this, he uses his powers to put an ass’ head on him. Coincidently the first thing she sees is a man with an ass’ head; Nick. The effect of the juice has it that she falls in love with him. Thus in the end, Oberon steals the child while she is doting over the ass head, yet in the end he supplies her with the antidote, which results in her believing that she dreamt the experience. In the end, she gives in to Oberon. With her first act Titania goes directly against Elizabethan society and refuses her husband’s demand; however, in the end she changes and fits back into the role which society during that time created for women. Queen Elizabeth began to bring about the reversal of the patriarchal society of her time by directly refusing the demand to marry.
William Shakespeare gives insight into the treatment of Women during Greek and Elizabethan times in A Midsummer Night’s Dream and also opens our minds to love relationships.

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