Social Class Roles In William Shakespeare's 1 Henry IV

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Hippolyta prepare for their wedding. During this process, Hippolyta, the woman Theseus has ‘won in battle’, makes snide comments toward Theseus and is quickly chided by Theseus and returns to her silence. In this society, and this time period, women have few rights and are not allowed to talk back to men and are taught to treat their husbands like kings, regardless of how their husbands treat them in return (societal customs). At the end of the play, after the wedding, the actors perform their play for the Duke, his new bride, and their wedding party. The actor Bottom, who is treated like a king earlier in the green world, is now brought back down to his station (social class enforced). He is forced to painstakingly perform the play with the …show more content…
Class structure is highly enforced, which leads the many issues for the King because the high station of Hotspur, Northumberland, and Worcester hinders King Henry’s ability to rapidly halt their treasonous rebellion and attempt to remove him from the throne (respect for social class order). This strict correspondence to the class structure also causes a dilemma when Hal brings Falstaff to court with him. Although Falstaff is now a lowly highway robber, his family background and title allow him to be accepted into court (importance of the social classes). In the meeting with King Henry IV and Hotspur, Falstaff makes a blunt sarcastic remark criticizing the professional way in which these meetings are conducted at court, as he is used to doing in the tavern, and Hal quickly …show more content…
In A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Bottom spends a significant amount of time in both the green world and the city world. In the city, Bottom is a tradesman and he is treated as such. He is recruited to perform a play for the Duke and is mocked and ridiculed during the performance because of his mediocre acting. He becomes the fool, even though the play is supposed to be a serious tragedy. However, in the green world Bottom is treated like royalty and is given fairies to wait on him hand and foot. He is even adored by the fairy queen, under the influence of a spell, even though he is far below her social class and he has an ass’s head. In the green world, Bottom is free to be whoever he wants to be, but in the city, he must behave according to his class status. He is able to use the lack of strictly defined social rules in the green world to elevate himself and fulfill his desires (Id), which he can’t do under the strict social customs of the city

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