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William Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream

William ShakespeareÆs comedy A Midsummer NightÆs Dream is a whimsical study of the difficulties and struggles that accompany love and courtship. Virtually all of the playÆs characters are affected by the complications brought about by romance, as they struggle to find happiness with the objects of their affections or are witness to the fickle, seemingly illogical patterns of love. Indeed, Shakespeare continually demonstrates that love refuses to submit to the laws and rigid order that society attempts to impose upon it. His characters, thus, all serve to illustrate various truths about love, providing both insight and comedy. Hippolyta and Theseus may be secondary characters, but their characterizations are quite significant within the play, as they not only demonstrate some of loveÆs darker qualities, but also the struggles that women face in the battle between the sexes within the context of the play as well as the time in which Shakespeare wrote. The events surrounding HippolytaÆs impending marriage to Theseus bookend the narrativeÆs main action, and set a tone that Shakespeare carries out throughout the play, making Hippolyta and Theseus less visible characters but ones who underscore the playÆs main themes.

In examining the characters of Hippolyta and Theseus, it is important to consider the genre from which Shakespeare borrows the warrior queen and the Duke of Athens. Both Hippolyta and Theseus are characters drawn from Greek mythology, and as A Midsummer NightÆs Dream takes place in Athens, their appearance makes sense within the narrative. According to most versions of the Greek myth, Hippolyta is an Amazonian warrior queen who is gifted with a magical girdle by her father, Ares, the Greek God of war. One of TheseusÆ associates steals the girdle, and Hippolyta leads the Amazons in war against Athens in order to recover it. Unfortunately, Theseus defeats Hippolyta, and decides to marry the warrior queen...

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William Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream. (1969, December 31). In Retrieved 03:25, May 28, 2020, from