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Shakespeare - Essay Example

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Primarily, an assessment of the plays and how gender-based power representations have been portrayed in these plays shall be presented. With this discussion, a clearer understanding of the plays and the portrayals will hopefully be established. …
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Download file to see previous pages William Shakespeare is considered by many as one of the greatest writers and poets of all time. Not only has he established a rich and dynamic literature, but he has also managed to captivate the imagination of readers with his vivid and often tragic characters. In his plays A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Othello, and the Winter’s Tale, discussions have been carried out by various analysts on power, as represented by men and as represented by women. This paper now seeks to present and evaluate such discussions.
In the play, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, male power is a dominant theme. In the play, the characters Lysandra and Hermia seek solace in the woods where they then fall under the control of Theseus. When they reach Athens, the couples are wedded to each other. Under these conditions, marriage is an event which is sought by women in order to establish their social place; and it is also sought by men in order to settle such aspect of their life as they then go off accomplish great and noble things (Howard, 411). Montrose (p. 65) discusses the male and female gender qualities and accepted traits apparent in the Elizabethan era. He further discusses how the wedding is indeed a joyful end to the play, but one which is based on the ability of the males to subjugate and exert their power over women (Montrose, p. 65). It also presents how unruly wives and willful daughters are then brought under the dominance of their leaders and their husbands (Montrose, 65). The consummation of the marriage act signifies how the power over the woman shifts from the father to the husband. The relationship between flowers and sexuality can also be drawn from the play, where juice used by Oberon can be seen to mean menstrual blood as well as the blood drawn from the loss of virginity (Montrose, 65). Menstrual blood may be viewed as a source of power – of one’s promising potential. On the other hand, blood from a first sexual encounter represents man’s dominance and subjugation of the woman (Tennenhouse, 73). There are however instances in the story where the power of men over women is not apparent. The authority displayed in this story is the archaic authority being exerted over women where a daughter is expected to die for not succumbing to her father’s will (Tennenhouse, 73). The disorder seen in Athens is very much in contrast to the Faerie world where male power is often broken down during the carnival fan fairs. The incident involving the lovers in the woods represent a chaos which is very much opposed to the political order of Theseus (Tennenhouse, 73). But then, Theseus does not punish the lovers for violating various rules. Such forgiveness indicates how the character distinguished between the acts of a father and the acts of a monarch. In this case, two authorities are recognized (Tennenhouse, 73). Two main themes are seen in various Shakespearian plays. One theme relates to the need for men to dominate women and another is the conflict which often exists between father and daughter (Pilkington and Pilkington). These two themes exist in the play, A Midsummer Night’s Dream. In the first act of the play, these themes are apparent when Theseus expressed how he was able to win Hippolyta by dominating her. The father-daughter conflict was seen between Egeus and Hermia. Alongside these conflicts is the conflict between the two men trying to win Hermia’s affection (Pilkington and Pilkington). The play, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, is very much about establishing one’s self and one’s identity in the hope of being free from sexual conflicts and authoritative dominance. The forest serves as the perfect place where the conflicts unfold (Pilkington and Pilkington). As Hermia is seeking freedom from Egeus in the forest, she is ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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