Authority in a Midsummer Night's Dream Essay

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Authority can be hurtful. In William Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, people have different authorities: Egeus can arrange Hermia’s life, Oberon can order all of the fairies to do his will, and Theseus can rule Athens. Although having authority is good, sometimes it could also cause losses, make people self-righteous and neglect others.

In this play, Egeus, as a father, has the authority to “decide her [Hermia] fate” (I: i: 44), but for this reason Egeus loses Hermia. Egeus ruins his relationship between himself and his daughter, because he forces Hermia to marry Demetrius. Hermia must be thinking”Does my father love me or care about me? ” Furthermore, Egeus would even rather that Hermia die than marry a man she loves, as he says “She [Hermia] shall either marry this gentleman [Demetrius] or she shall die” (I: i: 45-46). Because of all of Egeus’s oppression, Hermia runs away. Even though, Egeus has the right according to the law at that time, how can a father be so heartless to his daughter?

Secondly, Oberon’s authority makes him too self-righteous. Because Oberon is the king of the fairy kingdom, he is used to commanding Puck or other fairies and they have to deference Oberon. At this time, Oberon thinks he just needs to say “give me that boy” (I: i: 143), then Titania will do what he says like other fairies. And maybe Oberon supposes wives should always be obedient to husbands, he thinks himself has the authority to ask his wife to do everything, but he is totally wrong. Titania, as a queen, will not follow him so easily of course.

At last, Theseus, the duke of Athens, also has a strong power to control people. Though he is very authoritative, he neglects others’ feelings. For instance, at the end he accepts Hermia and Lysander’s marriage, and he decides to “over-rule your [Egeus] wishes” (IV: i: 184) but actually, Egeus is not very happy about that. Theseus should discuss with Egeus or convince Egeus why he makes this decision....
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