A Midsummer Night's Dream Questions and Answers
by William Shakespeare

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In A Midsummer Night's Dream, what is Egeus's and Hermia's relationship throughout the play?

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The relationship between Egeus and Hermia is not an affectionate one. Egeus regards his fatherly role in tyrannical terms. He does not appear to want to hear Hermia out on her desire to wed Lysander. He believes it is Hermia's duty to be absolutely obedient to him, no questions asked. He takes this belief to its horrifying logical extreme: if she does not marry according to his wishes, then he would rather she be executed for it. In fact, his lines "As she is mine, I may dispose of her, / Which shall be either to this gentleman / Or to her death, according to our law" show he views Hermia as a possession rather than as an individual.

Egeus's favoring Lysander is suggested to be rather irrational, since, as Lysander points out in regards to any possible differences between himself and Demetrius,

I am, my lord, as well derived as he,
As well possessed. My love is more than his,
My fortunes every way as fairly ranked,
If not with vantage, as Demetrius;
And—which is more than all these boasts...

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