Male Dominance in a Midsummer's Night Dream

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To what extent is Shakespeare trying portray male dominance over the female characters, in A Midsummer’s Night Dream. Almost in every play of Shakespeare we can see the dominance of males over women. In his plays women have no right to say what they think or what they want. They are always expected to be faithful to their fathers and husbands. They don’t have any freedom about their lives. However we know that this attitude of men against women in Shakespeare’s plays is a reflection of Renaissance society. We can see the most remarkable examples of male dominance in A Midsummer Night’s Dream. The play opens with a tragic event. Hermia who is in love with Lysander is forced to marry with Demetrius because of her father’s wish. According to her father Demetrius is richer and nobler than Lysander and he wants his daughter to marry with Demetrius. From the beginning of the play male dominance can be easily realized in the speeches of Egeus who is the father of Hermia. He goes to Theseus and complains about all that happens. He clearly talks about his daughter as if she was a commodity and he claims to be the owner of Hermia. There is no chance for Hermia to choose her own husband. If she doesn’t marry with Demetrius, her life will be turned into a torture under the ancient Athenian laws, that says a daughter has to marry the man of her father's choice otherwise she comes face to face the consequences of death or nunnery. Hermia’s life and happiness depend on the words that will be uttered by his father and the Duke. The speech of Theseus also underlines the importance of father for a daughter one more time. He says that she has to act as if her father was her God. This means she has to do everything for the sake of her father and her father is the ultimate power over her. Throughout the play, we find many references to the assigned roles of men and women. One of the themes of the play is male dominance and the objectifying of women. The women are made to feel...
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