Absurdity of Power Dynamics

In the power-relations of A Midsummer Night’s Dream the male characters indeed seem to be dominant over the females at first glance. Examining the power-relations closer we can see, that the men are questioned by the “rebellious” women (Hermia, Helena and Titania). In my opinion, these women, who disobey the traditional male dominance, also balance the power-structure of the play, as they, in a way, even seem to weaken the dominance of the male who rules over them. Hermia, for instance, dares to talk back to Theseus (1.1.53), and demonstrates with her verbal counter-attack that his power is not untouchable.

Shakespeare II

A Midsummer Night’s Dream opens with love with complications—typical, right?  First, we get a dominating power dynamic.  On the first page we learn that Theseus dominated Hippolyta during a military conquest, and now they will be married in four days.  Although this arrangement seems completely aggressive and one-sided, Hippolyta too is excited to be married.

Soon after, we are introduced to another male dominated relationship.  Egeus, Hermia’s father, comes to complain that this daughter will not obey him in that she will not marry Demetrius.  However, here we see the female speaking up for her wants.  Hermia’s first line in the play “So is Lysander” (1.1.53) is ambivalent in that this line speaks to her independent desires, but the three words also reinforce her compliance to men.  Hermia does not want to be independent of men, rather she wants choice of who to marry (which does exert some independence).  In…

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