Women In A Midsummer Night's Dream

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Relationships between men and women in Elizabethan times were very different than they are now. In A MIdsummer Night’s Dream Shakespeare puts women into serious dilemmas in order to reinforce the realities of their place in society. In the comedy, women are given extremely limited choices, manipulated and objectified all by men more dominant than they are.

Women in A Midsummer Night’s Dream are often given very limited or no choices in their own issues and even when they are given options their choices are less than fair. In the first place, Egeus is making complaint against his only daughter, Hermia when the Duke, Theseus lays out her options: “Whether (if you yield not to your father’s choice) you can endure the livery of a nun”(1.1.71-72). All that Hermia wants to do is to marry her true love; Lysander. She is given three options (to marry the man of her father’s choice, to become a nun, or to be killed) none of which are what she wants to do. Furthermore, at the very beginning of
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To begin, near the opening of the play, Egeus, his daughter and her two candidates for marriage (Lysander and Demetrius) are before the Duke when Egeus begs the ancient privilege of Athens: “As she is mine I may dispose of her” (1.1.42-43). Egeus says he may dispose of Hermia as if she is an object ready to be thrown away. He is ready to have her killed if she does not abide by his foolish plea. Additionally, Theseus and Hippolyta are discussing their upcoming nuptial day and he regales about how he captured her during wartime: “Hippolyta, I wooed thee with my sword and won thy love doing thee injuries”(1.1.17-18). Theseus refers to winning Hippolyta’s “love” or rather winning her. He treats her as if she is his war trophy as if he needs her as validation. Most men in the play objectify women, showing them how they deserve to be treated and putting them in their

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