In Shakespeare's A midsummer Nights Dream, you are a marriage counselor who has been hired to advise Titania and Oberon.  How did they behave toward each other, particularly with regard to their...

In Shakespeare's A midsummer Nights Dream, you are a marriage counselor who has been hired to advise Titania and Oberon.  How did they behave toward each other, particularly with regard to their quarrel over the orphaned boy?  How does this situation represent a power struggle between them?  Who is in control?  How will he or she continue to retain power? Who, in your opinion, makes the better case for the boy?  What suggestions can you give to resolve their conflict?

Expert Answers
sciftw eNotes educator| Certified Educator

There are a lot of questions here, and I will attempt to answer the general overarching question: "How would a marriage counselor counsel Titania and Oberon about their power struggle?"

First of all, I want to make it clear that I am not a marriage counselor.  I've simply been married for 11 years.  That doesn't make me an expert on marriage.  If you ask my wife, it doesn't even make me an expert on my own marriage.  

What I would first counsel them on is their view that marriage is and needs to be a power struggle.  It is not.  The marriage will be a rough one if both people are constantly fighting for control and power in the marriage.  Marriage is a partnership.  It's a democracy, not a dictatorship.  There are things that my wife and I need to find a way to compromise on.  We need to find a decision that both of us are happy about.  At times, there are things that I leave completely up to her.  There are times when she does the same for me.  Those are small decisions that don't affect the health of the relationship, though.  She shops better than I do, so I don't question her decisions.  I'm in charge of the cars.  But when it comes to our children, we have to be on the same page. It's hard sometimes, but a compromise must be found.  If not, we end up holding grudges, and that festers and wears away at the relationship.  I would tell Titania and Oberon the same thing.  

They cannot see their themselves as winners and losers in their relationship.  They cannot see themselves as ruler and ruled.  They have to operate as one.  The two of them are approaching the question of the boy all wrong.  It's clear that neither of them are happy with other person's opinion.  No matter which decision is made, one of them will be unhappy. That's not good. I would counsel them to not make any hasty decisions.  I would tell them that it's critical that they communicate with each other.  Titania needs to let Oberon know why she feels the way that she does.  Likewise with Oberon to Titania.  If needed, bring in a third party to help with the decision.

jalden eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I will add to the previous comment by saying that the behavior of Oberon and Titania toward one another regarding the boy was adversarial. Oberon wanted him and Titania refused to give him up, causing constant friction between the two of them.The power was in the hands of Titania, who possessed what Oberon wanted, the orphaned boy. The power would stay with her so long as Oberon wanted the boy and she refused him. The struggle is an archetypal one, expressing the fundamental challenge that exists between the sexes. The resolution of this conflict symbolizes the return to harmony between the sexes. This is Shakespeare's gift to the noble whose wedding the play was written and performed to honor. All is right in the world when the female principle, symbolized by Titania, and the male principle, symbolized by Oberon, are in loving balance, as they are by the end of the play.

In my opinion, Oberon makes the "better" case for the boy, or at any rate, the most timely. The boy has come to an age when he is ready to pass from an infant needing its mother, or surrogate mother, to a child needing world experiences and adventures that a father, or surrogate father, can provide. It is Life needing to expand, and Titania is unwilling to allow it.

purplefrog46 | Student

biblical passages : 

Exodus 22:21-22
Deuteronomy 24:17-18

Read the study guide:
A Midsummer Night's Dream

Access hundreds of thousands of answers with a free trial.

Start Free Trial
Ask a Question