Who is Hippolyta in A Midsummer Night’s Dream?

An Introduction to Hippolyta

Hippolyta, the Queen of the Amazons, is a character in the play A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Shakespeare draws inspiration from Plutarch’s “Life of Theseus,” where he describes the mythical battle between Theseus and the Amazons, to shape Hippolyta’s character. The Amazons, a legendary group of warrior women, serve as the basis for her portrayal.

Hippolyta’s Role in the Play

Although one might expect Hippolyta to be a strong and formidable female character, she turns out to be somewhat lackluster in this play. When the events of A Midsummer Night’s Dream unfold, Hippolyta is no longer the warrior she once was, having already been conquered by Theseus. Theseus fondly reminds her of their union, saying, “I wooed thee with my sword / And won thy love doing thee injuries” (1.1.17-18). Strangely, Hippolyta appears content with her role as a figurative trophy wife, eagerly anticipating her wedding night when they will celebrate under the watchful gaze of the moon (1.1.10-11).

This portrayal of Hippolyta has significant implications for feminist scholars. Symbolically, she represents the suppression of female power under male authority, a theme recurring throughout the play. While Hippolyta’s defeat occurs off-stage, we can observe a similar power struggle between Oberon and Titania, resulting in Titania’s humiliation and submission to Oberon.

Hippolyta as an Allusion

Literary critics interpret Hippolyta as an allusion to Queen Elizabeth I, Shakespeare’s contemporary ruler. In various works of literature and art, Queen Elizabeth was often depicted as an Amazon warrior. Notorious for refusing to marry and relinquish her power as England’s first female monarch, Elizabeth’s refusal to submit to male authority mirrors Hippolyta’s acceptance of Theseus’ dominance. Hippolyta’s choice to submit enacts a common Elizabethan fantasy of a powerful female ruler submitting to male rule, a fantasy that Queen Elizabeth herself refused to fulfill by remaining unmarried.

See also  The Cast Members Who Didn't Get Along with Alan Alda on MAS*H

Beyond her symbolic role, Hippolyta’s presence in the play does not significantly impact the plot. Like Theseus, she disappears after Act 1, Scene 1, only to reappear on her wedding day in Act 4, Scene 1. Her reappearance seems to serve primarily as an opportunity for Shakespeare to make allusions to classical mythology. For instance, while out hunting with the wedding party, Hippolyta reminisces about her hunting expedition with “Hercules and Cadmus” in Crete (4.1.116).

Hippolyta’s Romantic Side

Hippolyta also displays a romantic disposition. Titania even accuses Oberon of engaging in a passionate affair with “the bouncing Amazon” (2.1.72), referencing one of Hippolyta’s past lovers. Additionally, Hippolyta is one of the few characters who believes the account of the young lovers’ chaotic night in the woods. While she sympathizes with the noble young lovers, Hippolyta reveals a snobbish nature, openly criticizing the Mechanicals’ clumsy and amateurish performance of Pyramus and Thisbe. She expresses her disdain, saying, “I love not to see wretchedness o’er charged / And duty in his service perishing” (5.1.91-92). In simple terms, Hippolyta dislikes witnessing poor performances, particularly when they involve such inept actors.

To learn more about Hippolyta’s depiction as an Amazon and explore other themes, visit 5 WS for additional insights.

Note: The images from the original article are not included here.

The 5 Ws and H are questions whose answers are considered basic in information gathering or problem solving. 5ws.wiki will best answer all your questions

Related Posts

Who’s Participating in Dancing With The Stars This Year

“Dancing with the Stars” is gearing up for Season 32, and it’s bringing some exciting changes along with it. In this article, we’ll give you all the…

When You Finally Discover Someone's True Nature

When You Finally Discover Someone’s True Nature

Some individuals only appreciate us when we pose no threat to their existence. They only value us when we remain silent. They only appreciate us when we…

Who to Contact When the Power Goes Out in Your Apartment

Power outages always seem to occur at the most inconvenient times: on the hottest summer night, in the dead of winter, or right in the middle of…

Does Who You Give Scrolls to in Elden Ring Matter?

Does Who You Give Scrolls to in Elden Ring Matter?

Video does it matter who you give scrolls to elden ring If you aspire to become a formidable Sorcerer in Elden Ring, then you cannot afford to…

Who is Jada on Days of Our Lives

Days of Our Lives Welcomes a New Female Detective Rafe Hernandez, a character on Days of Our Lives, might soon have a new partner or love interest….

Who is Responsible for Preventing a Boat Collision?

Who is Responsible for Preventing a Boat Collision?

The responsibility for avoiding collisions between boats falls on the shoulders of all boaters on the water. Don’t rely on others to keep you safe and absolve…