Is it possible, in Shakespeare's "A Midsummer Night's Dream" to contrast Athens as having a hierarchical partiarchal order with the forest as a place of disorder?

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thanatassa eNotes educator| Certified Educator

This question can be situated within two theoretical frameworks, feminism and ecocriticism. Ecocritics would be interested in the contrast of nature with civilization in the play and would ask how the human constructedness of the city would affect not only the land and ecosystem but the moral and social nature of the people living and acting therein.

Feminist litersary critics would look at the relationships between civilization and patriarchal power and nature and feminine power. Theseus' Amazon queen was a ruler in her own land but is subordinate in Athens. Do Titania and the two girls have power rooted in a forest whoich is by its nature disruptive and chaotic, inherently resisting imposition of patriarchal structures? Do Shakespeare's sources reflect an earlier matriarchal religious and social order that is associated with the forest as an emblem of social structures existing before the development of urban patriarchal cvilization?

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A Midsummer Night's Dream

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