Custom Essay – Sexuality and Sexual Intercourse in A Midsummer Nights Dream

Sexuality and Sexual Intercourse in A Midsummer Nights Dream

On the surface, Shakespeare’s play A Mid Summer Nights Dream is simply a comedic romp concerning love. A close examination of the actions and words of each of the players will reveal that the primary focus of the play is not really love but rather sexuality and sexual intercourse.

            Hippolyta’s nightlife role as Titania is stage-managed by Theseus-Oberon, who gets his will by magical means.  if his own imperial gaze has proved ineffectual, he will capture Titania’s gaze and refocus it with an aimlessness that would have gratified Cupid:

                        The next thing then she waking looks upon,

                        Be it lion, bear, or wolf, or bull,

                        Or meddling monkey, or on busy ape,

                        She shall pursue it with the soul of love.

 

This prepares the way not only for an arousal of ‘animal love’ in Titania but for its consummation in her bower.  The supposed ravishment of Bottom would have to happen offstage, primarily because that is the only place it could have happened.  Titania’s bower is not the same as the flower-canopied bank ‘where the wild thyme blows’ and where according to Oberon, ‘sleeps Titania sometime in the night’.  If it were the same, then it is especially easy to believe that no sexual act occurs between the Queen and the Ass.  If such an act should occur, it must be believed that her bower is really in fairyland, which is distant from the wood, and that it is there where Bottom is taken and there where he is ravished.

            As for the theater, a Titania-jumping Bottom, or a Bottom-jumping Titania, is hardly what Shakespeare could have meant for …

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…f the sadism Hermia’s dream attributes to Lysander, and since this is also Hippolyta’s ‘dream’, it represents her anxieties about a Theseus who won her love by doing her injuries.  Oberon not only sees Titania’s disgrace, but feels it, and by doing so breaks his charm.

            Unpleasant as Oberon’s methods are, we can only judge them by Titania’s response. When she wakes up, she is not bitter, but quick to love, ‘My Oberon!’.  And, to obey, when he asks for music she immediately cries, ‘Music, ho!  Music, such as charmeth sleep!’

Works Cited and Consulted

Berry, Ralph. Shakespeare’s Comedies. Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 1972.

Greenblatt et al., ed. “A Midsumer Night’s Dream.”The Norton Shakespeare: Comedies. W.W. Norton & Company, Inc. 1997.

Vaughn, Jack A. Shakespeare’s Comedies. New York: Frederick Uncar Publishing Co., 1980.

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