In A Midsummer Night's Dream, what new conflict is intruduced by Oberon and Titania? What emotions motivate the behavior of the fairy king and queen?
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The new conflict that is introduced into this play by Oberon and Titania in Act II scene 1 is the conflict that they are experiencing. It is interesting that in Act I scene 1, some plays present Thesus and Hippolyta as experiencing conflict, and this is mirrored by the conflict shown in the relationship between the fairy king and queen. The conflict in the case of Oberon and Titania, however, is due to their argument over an Indian boy, whom Titania possesses at the moment and refuses to yield to Oberon, as this quote explains:
The fairyland buys not the child of me.
His mother was a vot'ress of my order...
And for her sake do I rear up her boy;
And for her sake I will not part with him.
This is the conflict that rages behind the conflicts that occur in Athens, and the play of course develops through the intersection of these different conflicts, as Oberon's methods to solve his own marital dispute with Titania end up impacting the Athenian lovers as well. Oberon appears to be quite selfish and petty in his insistent and stubborn demands for Titania to yield up the boy, whereas Titania appears slightly more mature, stating her reasons for keeping him because of the love she had for his mother as justification of her behaviour. It is interesting to reflect however that the fairy king seems to be a character who is driven by human emotions, as what motivates Oberon to punish Titania and gain the boy is greed and jealousy. There is no higher, more moral way of life exhibited by him.
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