If you were Hermia, would you choose to obey your father or elope?If you were Hermia, will you choose to obey your father or elope?

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robertwilliam's profile pic

robertwilliam | College Teacher | (Level 2) Senior Educator

Posted on

I think that's a better question than it initially looks like: because, of course, we all like to think we'd immediately elope. But I think, actually, what is all to easy to forget when reading the play today is that it entirely depends on the culture you are within when answering the question.

What you've missed out, of course, is the third option. Hermia can either obey her father and marry Demetrius, elope with Lysander (her real love) OR choose to disobey him publicly, facing Theseus' sentence (lifted in the last act of the play) of either death or a chaste life in a nunnery.

Rejecting her father's choice - by elopement or by disobeying - is rejecting the patriarchal culture in which Shakespeare was writing, and which - in the West, at least - we no longer really have or understand. It isn't just Demetrius that Hermia is rejecting, but a whole system of values: the way, in fact, that the whole world worked then.

Would you elope or obey your father today? But now tell me - would your answer to the question be any different if you were of a modern Islamic faith, and arranged marriages were far more accepted?

zeenaali's profile pic

zeenaali | Student, Undergraduate | eNotes Newbie

Posted on

I would elope because her other options were too ridiculous and what is the point of living without love

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