Feminism within A Midsummer Night’s Dream: Shakespeare’s Depiction of Hermia, Titania, Helena, and Hippolyta

Emily Wiland Butler University
Faculty Sponsor(s): William Walsh Butler University
A Midsummer Night’s Dream is one of William Shakespeare’s most controversial plays in terms of feminism. Critics cannot seem to agree on Shakespeare’s intent of his portrayal of the four women: Hermia, Helena, Titania, and Hippolyta. Each woman is vastly different from the next. However, I believe Shakespeare demonstrates that he is a feminist through his depiction of Hermia, Titania, and Helena. The three female characters are strong, independent women who are empowered in a patriarchal society through the use of their voice and their decisions to break societal norms by not being submissive, quiet women who obey men. However, Hippolyta is different than the three other female characters because she lacks a voice that empowers her. By Hippolyta accepting societal standards and being obedient to Theseus, Shakespeare illustrates Hippolyta as dull, invisible when in the presence of men, and not able to make her own decisions. Therefore, in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, I argue that Shakespeare is a feminist through his depiction of Hermia, Titania, and Helena, who are women that defy societal standards and speak their mind in order to become empowered and achieve true happiness while Hippolyta exemplifies a woman who is not empowered because she abides by societal rules and lacks control over her life.
Competitive Paper--All Disciplines (includes an Oral Presentation)
Competitive Paper (includes an Oral Presentation)

When & Where

09:00 AM
Pharmacy & Health Sciences 150