Gender Inequality In A Midsummer Nights’ Dream

688 words - 3 pages

William Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream may feature a number of female characters, but they are often portrayed as lesser to the men in the play. Shakespeare wrote in a time when women could not even act in plays, and A Midsummer Night’s Dream shows many examples of woman not being considered equal to men, and the results of this are not beneficial to the people in the play. Women in his time were seen in many instances as property, and this was not beneficial for them or for society. In fact, restrictions on the rights of women are the reason the main two couples of the play end up having their misadventures in the fairy forest.
A Midsummer Night’s Dream is set in Athens, and Shakespeare’s play has many instances of women being placed in a lower social position Athenian in society. Hermia and Helena both have problems because of their role as women who must follow the wishes of men, but even Hippolyta, the Queen of the Amazons, is subject to what a man wants. She is the Theseus’s captive bride, and he says this about her, “Hippolyta, I wooed thee with my sword” (I.i.16). The fact that he captured her seems to make her property subject to his will. How Demetrius treats Helena also shows a difference between the view of women and the view of men in the play. He no longer gives Helena the same consideration as he gives Hermia since he does not love her anymore. At one point, he even states, “I’ll run from thee and hide me in the brakes/ And leave thee to the mercy of the wild beasts” (II.i. 27-28). She also responds in the stereotypical lovesick woman way and fawns over him without any thought about her own well-being. One example that shows how bad the results could get because of women’s low status is Hermia’s plight. When Egeus comes to Theseus, he believes that his daughter Hermia, must marry the man of his choice, Demetrius. Hermia loves another man named Lysander,...

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