Close Analysis on Hippolyta in A Midsummer Night’s Dream
Hippolyta is a dominant character in the play; A Midsummer night’s dream. Some views on the play may suggest that Shakespeare represented her as the Queen- Queen Elizabeth I. This may be illustrated through Act 4 Scene 1 where Hippolyta marries Theseus and becomes the Queen of the Amazons. Shakespeare bases Hippolyta’s character on the ancient Plutarch’s portrayal of her in his ‘life of Theseus’. This ideology covers the big mythological battle between Theseus and the Amazons. In the play Hippolyta uses long silences when speaking, this could show her expressions towards her wedding; there is no hurry for her wedding night. There are slight disagreements between Hippolyta and Theseus in the play where it is shown that they have a tense relationship, and the long silences used represents anger. ‘Four days will quickly steep themselves in night, four nights will quickly dream away the time’ is a memorable quote in the play. It can be viewed by some readers that it represents the disagreements between the couple; showing animosity, tension and anger. In the Elizabethan times, society was patriarchal; where the males were the dominant figure heads. The Elizabethan views on the Amazons were that they are a symbol of passion that should be governed by reason. In this idea the reason would be men; therefore Hippolyta has an acceptance of being a ‘trophy wife’ to Theseus where he is in control. As men are known as reason, women are known for emotion. Women should be governed by men in Elizabethan times and therefore in today’s society the text could be perceived in different ways. ‘The Faerie Queen’ a narrative poem by Edmund Spencer had the same idea that women should be governed by men as they were produced in the same era. Hippolyta shows how men are controlling as in act 4 scene 1 she shows the power in which men have; ‘I was with Hercules and Cadmus once, when in a wood of Crete they...
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