A Midsummer Night's Dream by William Shakespeare

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Why does Hippolyta want to marry Theseus in A Midsummer Night's Dream?

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Hippolyta wants to marry Theseus in Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream because she loves—or, maybe not.

There are a number of versions of the Theseus/Hippolyta myth that lead up to A Midsummer Night's Dream which might help explain the relationship between Theseus and Hippolyta.

At some point in the mythical past, there was a battle between Theseus and the Amazons, commanded by Hippolyta. The Amazons were defeated, and Hypployta was taken one of several ways; either Theseus took Hippolyta as his prize for defeating the Amazons, Theseus simply abducted her, or Theseus asked Hippolyta to marry him and she politely declined, and then he abducted her. In any one of these three versions, Hippolyta is in Athens with Theseus under duress.

There's also a version of the myth in which Theseus plans to marry Phaedra instead of Hippolyta. The rejected and enraged Hippolyta organizes the Amazons to attack Theseus at the wedding ceremony, and Hippolyta is killed in the attack. Since Hippolyta is alive...

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