Why is Oberon angry with his queen?A Midsummer Night's Dream by William Shakespeare

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mwestwood eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream, love is a prevalent motif.  Love can be blind, fantasy, reasonable, warlike.  With Oberon and Titania in Scene I of Act II, Oberon and his fairy queen, Titania, argue over each other's infidelities.  Titania accuses Oberon

Playing on pipes of corn, and versing love

To amorous Pillida.  Why art thou here,

Come from the farthest steep of India?

But that, forsooth, the bouncing Amazon

Your buskin'd mistress and your warrior love,

To Theseus must be wedded, and you come

To give their bed joy and prosperity. (1.2.67-73)

When Oberon denies her charges, he is accused of lying by Titania.  Then he charges her with  "I know thy love to Thesus" (2.1.77)  She also denies his accusation.  They then argue over a changeling boy; Oberon says he wants the boy to be his "henchman."  Fearing that Titania's attentions are already turned elsewhere, Oberon sees the boy as as a further threat to his getting Titania's love.  In addition, if he can get this changeling boy, Oberon will have established his dominance in their relationship.  For, at this point there is much jealousy and need to dominate the other in the relationship between the fairy king and queen.  With the jealousy of the two fairies, Shakespeare shows that all of Nature is at odds since even the king and queen of fairies are arguing.  This reinforces the Elizabethan thinking that the elemental forces--the fairies and other supernatural beings--are the controllers of Nature, especially in the woods.

pohnpei397 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Oberon is angry at Titania, his queen, because she will not give up to him this "changeling" boy that she has gotten.  This is a child that she has gotten in India.  The little boy was the son of a friend of Titania's.  The friend died giving birth to the boy and so Titania took him.

Oberon does not really need the boy.  He just wants him to hang out with, to be part of his entourage, really.  It seems that he just wants the kid so as to get him away from Titania.  Titania will not give him up and that is why Oberon is mad at her.

lit24 | Student

Oberon is angry with Titania because she will not give him what he wants.

In Act II Sc 1. We get to know the reason for the quarrel between Oberon and Titania. Oberon wants possession of an orphan boy who is now being looked after by Titania:

Why should Titania cross her Oberon?
I do but beg a little changeling boy,
To be my henchman.

Titania refuses to part with him because that boy is the son of her dearest human friend. This human friend unlike Titania who is a fairy died while giving birth to this boy. After her death Titania adopted this boy and brought him away with her to fairy land. She is attached to this boy because he is the son of her former friend and will not give him to Oberon:

But she, being mortal, of that boy did die;
And for her sake do I rear up her boy,
And for her sake I will not part with him.

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A Midsummer Night's Dream

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