The play is essentially about love. The conflict arises out of this.
First there is the impending marriage of Theseus to Hippolyta. Theseus tells her in I.1 that he conquered her into marriage. When he leaves the scene, he say, "Come, my Hippolyta." The use of the word my indicts possession.
Hermia's father demands the ancient privilege. Egeus is another man who looks at females as possessions. He wants to force his daughter to marry the man he has chosen, Demetrius instead of the man she loves, Lysander.
It is also revealed that Demetrius "made love to Nedar's daughter" who happens to be Helena. Made love is not what we think today but we could say that he was dating her.
So in I.1 we learn that Thesus won Hypolita, the Queen of the Amazons, in battle and despite his telling her he loves her, he also considers her a possession, the spoils of war. We also learn that Hermia loves Lysander and that until Egeus decided he wanted his daughter to...
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