Causeand Effect Essay on Midsummer Night’s Dream
Literaryworks often explore the issues or ills that may be troubling aparticular society at any given time, with the aim of inspiringreaders or the audience to have a shift in their minds regarding themanner in which they view them. Perhaps one of the most exploredthemes in literary works of both traditional and conventional humansocieties is gender roles and particularly the degradation of women.This was particularly so in the case of Elizabethan women, especiallyin “Midsummer Night’s Dream”. Whilethere may be varying opinions, it is evident that it is Ageus’chauvinistnaturethat causes the conflict between him and his daughter Hermia.
First,it may be noted that the chauvinism resulted in the conflict betweenHermia and her father, Ageus, the Athenian nobleman. This comes outclearly considering that the Hermia is required by the father to getmarried to Demetrius, who she does not love, rather than Lysander,the man that she loves. Unfortunately, the choices that she makes orher personal feelings pertaining to the issue seem to be irrelevantas her father seeks to have her getting married to someone else,presumably to fulfill a dream that he may be having. Ageus states “Ibeg the ancient privilege of Athens, As she is mine, I may dispose ofher: Which shall be either to this gentleman Or to her death,according to our law Immediately provided in that case.(1.1.3)”. This cements the notion that women are not considered ashaving any intellectual aptitude to make decisions pertaining totheir lives rather they can only take rubberstamp the ideas of meneven when their own lives are concerned. Essentially, the greatestperfection of women revolves around serving and obeying their malecounterparts, a form of thinking that eventually causes the conflictsand has the effect of antagonizing father and daughter. As much asHermia was perfectly aware of her father’s displeasure with herchoices, it was appalling that even the Duke of Athens, Theseus,would agree with the dad, and even go as far as giving her theultimatum to comply with the demands of the father or face the fullwrath of the law. Theseus states “Whatsay you, Hermia? be advised fair maid: To you your father should beas a god One that composed your beauties, yea, and one To whom youare but as a form in wax”(1.1.4). Hermia prefers that her father sees her point of view andagrees to her wishes with regard to the marriage partner. She states“Iwould my father look`d but with my eyes”(1.1.58).
Inaddition, it is this chauvinism that causes Hermia to think ofescaping. Indeed, it is upon the realization that the laws,presumably made by the men in the society, would not come to herrescue that she decided to hatch a plan to escape from Athens. Hermiadeclines to get married to Demetrius and informs Theseus “ Mysoul consents not to give sovereignty”,(1.1.84), which essentially means that she would not agree to herfather’s choice. She also tells Lasender “Ohell! to choose love by another`s eyes(1.1.142). Unfortunately, even Demetrius is yet to see how a womancould disobey her father and choose another man instead of the onethat has been selected by the dad. Essentially, Hermia thinks ofescaping into the woods and reveals this plan to Helena stating “Takecomfort: he no more shall see my face Lysander and myself willfly this place….”(I,1,210)
Inconclusion, the conflicts in the play are a result of the malechauvinism that is exhibited by men particularly Ageus. Thischauvinism is what causes Hermia and her father to disagree as thelater tries to force the former to get married to an individual ofhis choice rather than the person that she truly loves. In addition,it is this degradation of women that causes the breakage of thefamily of Ageus with the escape from the home by Hermia as she cannotbring herself to marry Demetrius and ditch Lysander. This is upon herrealization that at no one time would her choices be respected orwould she be considered sufficiently intelligent as to make decisionspertaining to her life rather she is expected to follow the desiresand will of her father or rather the male counterparts.
Cookson,Linda. AMidsummer Night`s Dream: Longman Critical Essays.Harlow: Longman, 1991. Print
Shakespeare,William. FiveGreat Comedies: Much Ado About Nothing, A Midsummer Night’s Dream,As You Like It, Twelfth Night, The Merry Wives of Windsor.Ed. T.N.R. Rogers. Mineola, New York: Dover Publications Inc., 2000.Print
Introduction: Where does the play fit in the literary world?
Thesisstatement: Whilethere may be varying opinions, it is evident that it is Ageus’chauvinistnaturethat causes the conflict between him and his daughter Hermia.
Paragraph2: How does the chauvinism cause the conflict between thecharacters?
Paragraph3: How does chauvinism destabilize the family?