What are some specific similarities or parallels between Act 1, Scene 1 and Act 2, Scene 1 of A Midsummer Night's Dream?

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litteacher8 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The two scenes are similar because they involve conflicts between lovers where the men think they should get their way and the women stubbornly refuse.

In Act 1, Scene 1, Hippolyta and Theseus are getting married, and Egeus brings his daughter before Theseus because she wants to marry Lysander, but her father wants her to marry Demetrius.  The conflict between Demetrius and Hermia is similar to the conflict between Oberon and Titania in that both are lovers’ quarrels, and both have intervention by outside parties—Egeus/Theseus and Puck.

Theseus tells Hermia that she needs to do what her father says.

What say you, Hermia? Be advis'd, fair maid.

To you your father should be as a god;

One that composed your beauties; (Act 1, Scene 1)

Similarly, Oberon seems to think that Titania should do what he wants.  He is upset that she has a human child, a changeling from India.

Do you amend it, then; it lies in you.

Why should Titania cross her Oberon?(120)

I do but beg a little changeling boy,

To be my henchman. (Act 2, Scene 1)

In each case, the lovers’ conflict is resolved by the end of the play.  Hermia gets to marry Lysander, because Demetrius gives her up for Helena.  Titania generally changes her mind.  The conflict of the mortal and magical couples demonstrates that love is complicated.

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A Midsummer Night's Dream

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