Midsummer Night's Dream

William Shakespeare's play, "A Midsummer Night's Dream" was written in 1595. A woman's role in her family and community were determined by a patriarchal society. It was during this time, after all, that women were being burned at the stake all across Europe.

The play begins in an Athenian palace just before the wedding of Theseus, Duke of Athens, to Hippolyta, "Now, fair Hippolyta, our nuptial hour / Draws on apace" (I:I:I) Hippolyta is the legendary Queen of the Amazons whom has been conquered and now weds the Duke. Perhaps because of the legends associated with the matriarchal society of the Amazons, Shakespeare portrays Hippolyta as a woman conquered, indicating that the Queen of the Amazons must certainly be conquered before accepting a man in marriage. It is presumed that Theseus and Hippolyta met in combat, and so he promises her that although he wooed her in...
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