A Midsummer Night's Dream by William Shakespeare

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Why does Egeus prefer Demetrius over Lysander in A Midsummer Night's Dream by Shakespeare? "Stand forth, Demetrius. My noble lord,This man hath my...

Why does Egeus prefer Demetrius over Lysander in A Midsummer Night's Dream by Shakespeare?

Stand forth, Demetrius. My noble lord,
This man hath my consent to marry her.
Stand forth, Lysander: and my gracious duke,
This man hath bewitch'd the bosom of my child;
Thou, thou, Lysander, thou hast given her rhymes,
And interchanged love-tokens with my child:
Thou hast by moonlight at her window sung,
With feigning voice verses of feigning love,
And stolen the impression of her fantasy
With bracelets of thy hair, rings, gawds, conceits,
Knacks, trifles, nosegays, sweetmeats, messengers
Of strong prevailment in unharden'd youth:
With cunning hast thou filch'd my daughter's heart,
Turn'd her obedience, which is due to me,
To stubborn harshness: and, my gracious duke,
Be it so she; will not here before your grace
Consent to marry with Demetrius,
I beg the ancient privilege of Athens,
As she is mine, I may dispose of her (act 1, scene 1)

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In Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream, Hermia's father, Egeus, explains to Theseus, Duke of Athens, why his daughter shouldn't marry Lysander but gives the Duke no reasons why he prefers that Demetrius marry Hermia other than that Demetrius is a "gentleman" whereas Lysander is not and that "this man [Demetrius] hath my consent to her" (1.1.26).

Egeus believes that Lysander has "betwitch'd" Hermia with poems, with love-tokens, and by singing at her window "feigning love" for her (1.1.27–32), thus stealing her away from Demetrius. This might well be true, but Lysander argues that he's just as good a man as Demetrius—the Duke also thinks him "a worthy gentlemen" (1.1.53)—and, more to the point he argues, he has Hermia's love, which Demetrius does not (1.1.106).

Egeus thinks that Lysander is cunning, deceitful, and unworthy of his daughter, but he seems to overlook the fact that Demetrius isn't particularly honorable, either. As Lysander tells the Duke—which the Duke already...

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