What are the characteritics of Titania from "A Midsummer Night's Dream"?

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robertwilliam eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Titania is an extremely strong woman, more than prepared to stand up to her husband - and no matter what he threatens, she ain't going to give up the Indian boy: this is her talking to Oberon:

Set your heart at rest;
The fairy land buys not the child of me.
His mother was a votaress of my order
[...]
But she, being mortal, of that boy did die;
And for her sake do I rear up her boy;
And for her sake I will not part with him.

You can hear it in that strong, percussive, repetitive rhythm in those last two lines: try reading them out loud and you'll see what I mean. She's an extremely strong, dominant character, who won't give up, even in the face of Oberon's threats:

OBERON:
Give me that boy, and I will go with thee.

TITANIA:
Not for thy fairy kingdom. Fairies, away.
We shall chide downright if I longer stay.

If she stays any longer, she says, she will "chide downright" -be outright rude straight to his face. She isn't going to take any rubbish from him.

And that is about all you need to know about Titania's character: because it's that strength and self-willed force that later allows her to follow her desire in absolutely insisting that Bottom will go off to have sex with her whether he "wilt or no". And, of course, it's that strength that means that - to get revenge on her - Oberon has to do it by crafty, through-the-back-door means: anointing her with a flower while she is asleep.

Read the study guide:
A Midsummer Night's Dream

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