In Shakespeare’s play ”A Midsummer Night’s Dream”, we are introduced to a character, Titania, who opposes her husband, Oberon. In this lesson, we will learn more about this intriguing Queen of the Fairies.
Queen Titania is a portrayal of a strong woman, howbeit fairy, in A Midsummer Night’s Dream. She is attended to by many other fairies and seems to be completely in charge of her life.
However, she clashes with her husband, Oberon, King of the Fairies, who is definitely just as strong-minded as she is. Although Shakespeare created Titania from his own imagination, there is a possibility that he got the idea from the goddess Diana and her fairy attendants.
A Midsummer Night’s Dream
Queen Titania reveals a compassionate and loyal nature by adopting the son of an Indian woman whom she has befriended over the years. The woman dies in childbirth, and in a burst of generosity, Titania takes her son to be her own. But Oberon has different plans for the child.
How useful it would be to have a young ‘henchman’ to call to do his bidding! He demands that Titania give him the boy, and she, of course, refuses. So, as the play begins, we see the tension between the two fairies. In fact, Titania is so confident, she simply refuses to live with Oberon unless he changes his mind.The second conflict Shakespeare reveals is a sense of jealousy between the two fairies. Titania accuses Oberon of flirting with the Amazon Queen, Hippolyta, while Oberon, in turn, accuses Titania of flirting with Hippolyta’s husband-to-be, Duke Theseus of Athens.
Roles of Fairies
Fairies play interesting roles in A Midsummer Night’s Dream. They seem to secretly interact with humans by either singing to affect the seasons or blessing weddings, as we see Titania and Oberon do for Hippolyta and Theseus towards the end of the play. And, of course, fairies like Puck play tricks on humans.
Titania and Bottom
The most humiliating part of the play, for Titania, at least, is that Oberon drops a love potion into her eyes as she sleeps, causing her to fall in love with the first creature she sees. She falls in love with Bottom, an overconfident amateur actor who is practicing a play in the woods where the fairies live.Puck has already given Bottom donkey’s ears, although Bottom is unaware of the change. When Titania wakes up, she immediately falls in love with Bottom and completely spoils him.
Oberon steals the Indian boy while Titania is so occupied. When Titania wakes up, she is horrified to see Bottom. Thus humiliated, she seems to completely lose interest in the Indian boy and her feud with Oberon. Titania has been rather easily manipulated by Oberon even though she is such a strong character. Humorously she says:’My Oberon! what visions have I seen!Methought I was enamour’d of an ass’ (Act 4.
Scene 1).Well, unfortunately, Titania was in love with an ‘ass’ or ‘donkey-man.’
Shakespeare’s fairies are intriguing creatures, and help create magical events in the plots of his plays. Titania shows herself to be a strong, though easily manipulated fairy, and she is a character that A Midsummer Night’s Dream could not do without.
Fairies bring magic to the Shakespearean stage.