Women Characters in Midsummers Night's Dream by William Shakespeare

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Women Characters in Midsummers Night's Dream by William Shakespeare


In Williams Shakespeare's "A Midsummer Night's Dream," many of the play's female characters have strong similarities and differences among one another. Although many of the main female characters in the play come from dissimilar backgrounds, their similarities are brought together by common problems associated with society and love. Of the four main female characters, Hippolyta, Titania, Helena, and Hermia, both Hippolyta and Titania are royalty while Helena and Hermia are commoners. However, a common theme associated with Hippolyta, Titania, Helena, and Hermia, regardless of their social caste, is their similarities and differences in dealing with love in a
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I must employ you in some business
Against our nuptial, and confer with you
Of something nearly that concerns yourselves. (1.1.117-127)
Although Hippolyta has few lines in "A Midsummer Night's Dream" the expressions and reactions the reader gets from Theseus tell how Hippolyta is able to persuade the actions Theseus takes, as in the quote above. The main difference between Hippolyta and the other three female characters is her ability to speak with her actions instead of her words. Although Hippolyta shares similarities with Hermia and Helena, the association with royalty connects Titania and Hippolyta on a closer level.
Titania is a strong willed fairy who is dedicated to herself rather than her lover Oberon. However, Tatiania is more outspoken about the wrongs a patriarchal society has on love. Titania is royalty, therefore, being royalty helps to insure a greater influence toward a less patriarchal society and movement toward a society in which love is governed by a couples choice rather than a man's choice. Unlike Hippolyta, Titania is more verbally outspoken to her husband, taking the role of a present day feminist:
Oberon. Why should Titania cross her Oberon?
I do but beg a little changeling boy
To be my henchman
Titania. Set your heart at rest...
His mother was a vot'ress of my order,...
But she, being mortal, of that boy did die;
And for her sake do I rear up her boy,
And for her sake I will not part with…

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