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Midsummer Night’s Dream
by William Shakespeare shows examples of the roles assigned to men and women in
the society. Some of its themes embody the objectifying of women that submit to
male power and dominance over them, forcing them to follow males’ orders and do
as they are told. One of the exciting things in the play is how it shows the
continuously fluctuating relationship between men and woman and how love and
trust between them are not everlasting and that men usually become the
authority figures at some point. There are similarities to the relationships we
have today in our society to what is shown in the play.

         Throughout the play, men maintained
their control over women in various ways including violence. An example of this
in the play lies in how Egues preferred to have his daughter Hermia die than to
disobey him and follow her own heart and be responsible for her actions. Hermia
fell in love with Lysander and wanted to marry him, but Egues did not approve
of Lysander and wanted his daughter to marry another man he liked and approved
of without giving any consideration to Hermia’s feelings or desires. Because of
this, Egeus went into the forest to ask for help from Theseus, :”I beg the
ancient privilege of Athens: As she is mine, I may dispose of her, which shall
be either to this gentleman or to her death, according to our law immediately
provided in that case (1.1.5-9)”. Egues’ actions show that he thought of his
daughter as a female who is insensible and unable to make proper judgments on
her own despite the fact that the man of his choice as a husband for her was
mere because he liked the man, not for his ability to bring her happiness. In
Shakespeare’s play though, Helena took the role of a man, which brought mixed
feelings of humor and sympathy to the audience that knew how oppressed women
were in that era but also understood the main idea of Shakespeare who tried to
promote equity between both genders through this part of the play. Despite the
fact that women are more powerful today than they were then, they will never be
treated equally or be valued as they should. Part of this is due to
stereotyping or the fact that in our genes we believe women are not as high or
as worthy as men are.

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