The Irresistible Need for Control in Shakespeare’s Midsummer Night’s Dream

Exerting the type of power that is influenced by malicious intentions can cause one to make decisions that are not beneficial to others. A Midsummer Night’s Dream is written within a time period and setting that favors men instead of woman. In other words, men have all the authority to control the events that occur in their own lives as well as the lives of others whom are considered insignificant. The plot displays the catalysts that ignite many characters’ desire for control that is misused by higher status people. Shakespeare’s use of characterization demonstrates how the wanting of control causes the characters to act irrationally through the misuse of power. Shakespeare’s use of setting, plot and characterization causes the ordeals that the characters ultimately face. In turn, the deceitful choices of a few individuals with status impacts whether the lives of lower status people are enhanced.

The time period and setting in which this play is written causes the characters to crave control that affects the fate of others. Shakespeare writes this play during the time period of the mid-1500s to the early 1600s. The hierarchy of power during this time favors men more than women. Similarly, women are strictly valued as property rather than equal counterparts to men. England’s societal pyramid during this time period is evident in A Midsummer’s Night Dream as Egeus threatens to end his daughter’s life unless she complies with his wishes to marry a man she does not love:

I beg thee 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 (I .i. 43-46)

The lines mentioned earlier depict Egeus, a person of high importance in …

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…of the characters’ lives as their motivation affects what they do. The play’s overall theme of manipulation for personal gain as well as general control transmits to me clearly that we are not in control, of the events that happen to us. In spite of that revelation we are in control of the way in which we react to the circumstances in our lives. Hence, no human fully grasps the capabilities to control the way we act. We simply allow certain circumstances to overpower us and dictate our actions. Ultimately, I learned that we are our actions and consequently we should acknowledge the accountability that is implied when we act a certain way. Instead of blaming others for the mistakes we make, we should understand that we have the control as much as the power to make our own decisions rather than giving that ability someone else.








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