How does Hermia defy her father in A Midsummer Night's Dream?

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accessteacher | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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The plot of this excellent comedy is started or initiated by the way in which Hermia defies her father. In Act I scene 1 of the play, we are introduced to the main Athenian characters and the issue that has provoked Egeus, Hermia's father, so sorely. He craves an audience with Theseus, the Duke of Athens, because of the way his daughter is defying him. Hermia, although she knows that her father wants her to marry Demetrius, is refusing to comply with his wishes, and actually wants to marry Lysander. Note what Egeus says about Lysander:

With cunning hast thou filched my daughter's heart,

Turned her obedience, which is due to me,

To stubborn harshness.

Thus Hermia is defying Egeus in refusing to marry the man that he wants her to, and insisting on marrying the man whom she loves. How this problem will be resolved will occupy the rest of the play.