Tuesday, February 25, 2020

Literature-Shakespeare Essay Example | Topics and Well Written Essays - 1250 words

Literature-Shakespeare - Essay Example A woman who had declined to marry, almost certainly because she would lessen her own status and ability to rule by doing so, although her father’s various mishaps will also have had their influence. At the time most women were in a very restricted place in society, either under the control of their father’s or husbands, and unable to make decisions for themselves In many production of the play the parts of the queen of Athens and that of Titania are played by the same person – does Shakespeare therefore show them as reflecting different parts of the same character? .It should be remembered that it was not until the time of Charles II that women appeared legally on the English stage, so that these parts would have been played originally by young boys. The Plot This is a complex one involving 4 couples , Theseus , Duke of Athens and his bride to be , Hippolyta: Oberon and Titania the fairy king and queen: and two pairs of young people - Hermia and Lysander: Helena and Demetrius. After many tricks and turns, including of course the play within a play, love conquers all. At the beginning Theseus dominates his bride to be, reminding her of how he had wooed her, the queen of the Amazons, :- woo'd thee [Hippolyta] with my sword, And won thy love doing thee injuries; But I will wed thee in another key, With pomp, with triumph, and with revelling. (I.i.16-19) Hippolyta is therefore portrayed a conquered former enemy and apparently compliant. Is that how Shakespeare sees royal spouses or merely how he portrays them? He was born after the death of Henry VIII and Mary Tudor had died in his infancy so he had no personal experience to go on. . Hippolyta’s response is minimal, especially as they are interrupted by the entry of others. . He has conquered her by his physical strength. How much choice did she have in the matter? Would the audience understand erotic references in ‘sword’ and ‘injuries’ at a time when chastity in a bride was so prized? She merely discusses the short time left until the wedding. The rulers have had their quarrel and settled it as mature adults before the play begins. They have resolved their own differences. For the others though the action is all ahead of them and they do not have as much control over their own affairs as the rulers enjoy. Hippolyta does not appear again until near the end of the play ( Act iv) when she enters with her husband and Egeus. Theseus comes over as being very much in charge, giving orders to others. To Hippolyta, although he still tells her what is going to happen, he does address her as ‘Fair queen’. Her response is merely to reminisce. In Act v she disagrees with her husband - he thinks the lovers stories are mere fables, but she accepts them as being true witnesses ‘ More witnesses than fancy’s images. However this isn’t an argument really. By the end of the play Hippolyta seems merely world weary. She wants the rustic’s play to be over - Act V , scene 1, ‘I am a weary of this moon, would he but change’ and ‘I hope she will be brief.’ She criticizes ‘ His speech was like a tangled chain’ ‘ It is after all her wedding night. There are more important things to come than watching a silly and badly done play about thwarted lovers. Hermia The play is very much of its time . Rulers, if not Elizabeth I, did marry for political reasons. For others there was not much more choice. The idea of young people marrying because they were passionately in love was still an alien

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