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In "A Midsummer Night's Dream", why were Oberon and Titania fighting over an Indian Boy...

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ankitsinha | Student, Grade 9 | eNotes Newbie

Posted April 10, 2009 at 4:00 PM via web

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In "A Midsummer Night's Dream", why were Oberon and Titania fighting over an Indian Boy that  caused the love juice to be used?

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luannw | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Senior Educator

Posted April 10, 2009 at 9:58 PM (Answer #1)

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In Act 2, sc. 1, Titania and Oberon quarrel.  Oberon is upset that Titania is spending so much of her time and attention on a changeling child she has brought with her from India.  The boy's mother was one of Titania's ladies-in-waiting as well as one of her friends.  The woman, who was mortal, died giving birth to the child, who is part fairy, and Titania, for the sake of their friendship, has taken the child ro raise.  Titania feels an obligation to this boy and apparently dotes on him which has caused Oberon to resent the child.  Oberon wants to bring the boy into his fold to be his "henchman", but Titania does not want that.  She is not ready to give up the boy yet. Oberon figures that if Titania is consumed with love for someone - as the juice from the flower would cause - then he'll be able to take the boy from her because her attention won't be on the boy.  Oberon doesn't care with whom or with what Titania falls in love; he just wants her attention diverted so he can take the boy.  Then Titania will pay attention to him again.

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robfoley | Teacher | eNotes Newbie

Posted March 2, 2010 at 2:06 AM (Answer #2)

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I think the answer lies not in the text, but in the background of their relationship. Oberon and Titania have been married, presumably, for thousands of years. I think they are bored, and will do anything to spice up their marriage. I think Oberon doesn't really care about the indian boy, he cares that Titania won't give him what he wants; even though he has no real claim to the prince. It has been established that Oberon and Titania have been unfaithful; each one of them knows it, and neither seems to care. If the other's infidelity doesn't really upset them, why would some indian boy?

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Wiggin42 | Student, Grade 11 | Valedictorian

Posted March 23, 2014 at 1:42 AM (Answer #4)

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Titania and Oberon quarrel over the changeling boy because they both want the boy for very different reasons. 

Puck reveals to us in Act I: 

Puck: And jealous Oberon would have the child. Knight of his train to trace the forests wild.

Oberon wants the boy to be basically his henchman. 

Meanwhile, Titania has motherly love for the changeling boy because one of the women who worship her died in childbirth and gave the boy to Titania. 

A more subtle interpretation of the text suggests that Oberon is also simply jealous of all the attention and love Titania pours out for the changeling boy.

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beckythebunny | Student | eNoter

Posted May 3, 2011 at 4:44 PM (Answer #3)

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He’ll put the juice on Titania’s eyes in the hope she’ll fall in love with some terribly ugly creature. During her enchantment (while she’s besotted by a lover and some love-juice), he’ll convince her to give up the Indian boy, and then he’ll remedy the spell. ( I'm only in year 7 and i know  the answer.)

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