In A Midsummer Night's Dream, what is an example of an internal conflict, who is involved and how are the conflicts resolved?

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litteacher8 | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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An internal conflict is Hermia’s decision of whether or not to marry Demetrius.

An internal conflict is a character vs. self conflict, or a decision a character has to make.  May internal conflicts originate from external conflicts, or conflicts with other characters or society.

This is Hermia’s conflict.  She has been ordered to marry Demetrius, even though she loves Lysander.  She has to make a choice.  This choice is driven by two main external conflicts: her conflict with her father, and her conflict with society.  Her father Egeus has demanded that she marry Demetrius and she has no choice in the matter.  He has the power to do this because Athenian law says she has to obey her father.

Theseus, Duke of Athens, informs Hermia that to her, her father “should be as a god” and since “Demetrius is a worthy gentleman,” she should not argue (1:1).  Hermia asks him what will happen to her if she disobeys him.  He is blunt with her.

Either to die the death, or to abjure

For ever the society of men. (1:1)

He tells Hermia to think carefully and make up her mind.  She has to decide whether to die, marry Demetrius, or become a nun.  In the end, Lysander gives her another choice: run away with him.  That is the choice she makes—or tries to.


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