The play by Shakespeare ‘a midsummer night’s dream’ is mainly staged in the forest and depicts the proceedings immediate to the wedding ceremony of Duke of Athens and the Queen of the Amazons. Various characters are involved and love as the main theme of the play is evident through the play. Nevertheless, the subject of love leads us in identifying the character traits and roles of the various characters involved in the play. Therefore, an evaluation of the range of personalities from the play will be explored pointing out to the roles of men and women in the personality portrayed in them.
At the outset, men are portrayed as having supremacy in terms of choosing marriage partners for their daughters. As such, the ladies have neither freedom nor choice in love affairs and are presented as inferior. For instance, Shakespeare (1949) presents Hermia as being forced by his father, Egeus, to marry Demetrius, a man she never fell in love with. However, she is deeply in love with Lysander whom his father does not like at all. Besides, Hermia is threatened by the Duke of Athens, Theseus, for being disobedient to his father. Per se, she is given the choice of either serving as a nun or to die (6). In the light of the above position, men have authority and thus this brings out a picture of a male dominated society. On the other hand, women serve the place of subordination and they are actually forced to do what they don’t like and thus they feel as though they are only made to serve the interests of men.
Additionally, men are seen to give orders and are manipulative so as to get what they yearn for. Therefore, they believe that ladies are to be humble and subordinate. Shakespeare (1949) portrays the king of the fairies, Oberon, angered by his queen, Titania, who denies him an Indian boy as his henceman. As a result, Oberon chooses to punish Titania for her defiance by ordering love portions be applied on her so that she can take the boy without her knowledge (32). In line with this, the reason for such men characteristics is to show that they are the head of the family. More to this, they are disciplinarians and have the pride of being and practicing their authority over women. On the other hand, ladies should be submissive and give up their pride otherwise they are likely to suffer for it.
Even so, it is evident that men are envious and self seeking while women are submissive. As such, men seek contentment and fulfillment thereof of their own desires at the expense of innocent women. This is clearly highlighted by Shakespeare (1949) where he presents Helena as being in love with Demetrius who in turn loves Hermia. Interestingly enough, Hermia is in love with Lysander and they are planning to get married. However, out of selfishness, Demetrius pursues Hermia, an instance that devastate the friendship between Helena and Hermia. Conversely, there is a magic performed on Demetrius and Lysander that makes them pursue Helena at the same time (45). As a result, she is threatened and hurt as the men have a propensity to abuse her sexuality.
Throughout the play, love is depicted as the main subject around which all men and women characters revolve. Presumably, men are so envious and filled with the desire to overrule women even in their sexuality. Nonetheless, the men seek to be recognized and all they do is to draw the attention of women in understanding that they are in control of everything. It is the submissive character of women that make them cope up with the forces and pressures from men. As such, the role played by men is that of being the decision makers, leaders of the families and the higher authority in that matter. Women play the subordinate role and as such daughters are objectified and thus the fathers have to decide on whom to marry them since they are treated as objects of trade.
Finally, men are aggressive and always force their way out. Moreover, male dominance is not only portrayed among husbands and wives but also amid fathers and daughters. On the other hand, women are humble, submissive and loving and thus, this characteristic has kept them in the subordinate part.
Shakespeare, William. A midsummer-night’s dream. Washington, DC: Plain label books, 1949.