The men of Elizabethan England had all the authority, they were the head of the family, and were expected to be obeyed. They are the most dominant gender which leaves women powerless with no control over anything. Who they spend the rest of their life with they do not get to choose. They have not the power to be responsible for their own happiness. Women are expected to be submissive because then, they were thought to be the weaker gender.
When women get married, they are their husband’s property and before they get married, they are their father’s. Just as Egeus says that “she (Hermia) is mine (his) and I (he) may dispose of her”. Women are thus perceived as a possession ...view middle of the document...
He wonders “why should Titania cross her Oberon”, giving an immediate implication that Titania should obey him if she does not wish to cross him. Again, this contributes to the point where women should be submissive and obey men. He puts a silly trick on Titania that got her to fall in love with an ass. This is perhaps to show that he is powerful and does not like to be disobeyed.
The absence of Hermia’s mother in this play also suggests that women do not get to voice out their thoughts or feelings. Hermia’s mother is just as much of a parent to Hermia as Egeus is however she is not even mentioned in the play. This gives an idea that her rights as a mother is completely obliterated just because she is a woman that is considered as inferior and less dominant to men. Women are seen as important to only give birth and satisfy the men’s needs and wants.
However, Titania, Hermia, and Helena defy traditional gender stereotypes by aggressively pursuing love. Titania is not shown to be submissive to Oberon when she refuses to hand over the Indian boy which “cross her Oberon”. This does not intimidate Titania and she continues to be rebellious. The same could be said for Hermia because she refuses to marry the man that her father had chosen for her which then results in her running away with Lysander to the forest. While in Helena’s case, she is shown to be doing the “woo(ing)” instead of the one being wooed. There is a reverse in action.
In conclusion, although some might defy the traditional ways of how a woman should act, it is still expected of them to be passive, submissive and obedient to men.