Describe the relationship between Duke Theseus and Queen Hippolyta in the opening scene. How did they meet? How does their impending marriage promise to be happy?

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Theseus is the Duke of Athens in Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream. Hippolyta is a queen from the Amazon whom Theseus captured in a war or battle. We know this because he says to her in the opening scene, "I woo'd thee with my sword,/ And won thy love doing thee injuries" (I.i.17-18). It would seem, then, that Theseus met Hippolyta during a battle and carried her off as if she were part of the spoils of war.

From this scenario, it would not seem logical for Hippolyta to marry the one who conquered her. But there is evidence that their marriage could be happy because she is consciously, willingly, and happily going through with the wedding. In fact, when Theseus tells Hippolyta that he simply can't wait any longer for their wedding day, she tells him to be patient and that it will come soon enough. She also tells him that half of the time spent waiting over the next four days will be during the nighttime, when they will be sleeping; so, that part will go quickly.

She finishes by saying, "And then the moon, like to a silver bow/ New-bent in heaven, shall behold the night/ Of our solemnities" (I.i.9-11). By this, she means that the new moon will witness their wedding--thereby reassuring him that she will go through with it as well. Therefore, even though Theseus conquered Hippolyta in battle, they did fall in love and are happily marrying each other. 

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A Midsummer Night's Dream

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