A Midsummer Night's Dream
Feminine Homoeroticism in A Midsummer Night's Dream and As You Like It
In Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream and As You Like It, feminine homoeroticism emerges as an interplay of passive and aggressive opposition. Women take the sphere of romantic love -- one sphere to which they have access in the midst of an oppressive patriarchal order and reformulate it to exclude men. Ironically, in the midst of playing out their same-sex relationships, females assume particular roles that create a pseudo-patriarchy not unlike the order they sought out to escape. Rather than divorcing themselves from the patriarchal order, the women tend to seek the security of a familiar power structure, which they find as they create it for themselves.
In A Midsummer Night's Dream, Hermia particularly opposes the patriarchal order in which her father and other figures of male authority dictate the terms of her marriage. She protests before the Duke, Theseus, saying,
I know not by what power I am made bold,
Nor how it may concern my modesty
In such a presence here to plead my thoughts,
But I beseech your grace that I may know
The worst that may befall me in this case
If I refuse to wed Demetrius. (MND , 1.1.59-64)
By arguing for her right to "plead [her] thoughts" before an assembly of men, imposes upon a...
Join Now to View Premium Content
GradeSaver provides access to 846 study guide PDFs and quizzes, 6347 literature essays, 1750 sample college application essays, 259 lesson plans, and ad-free surfing in this premium content, “Members Only” section of the site! Membership includes a 10% discount on all editing orders.
Already a member? Log in