Shakespeare's Queen Hippolyta: Character Traits & Analysis

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  • 0:01 An Upcoming Wedding
  • 0:42 Character Traits of…
  • 1:14 The Fairy Connection
  • 1:47 The End of the Story
  • 2:42 Further Analysis
  • 3:42 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Debbie Notari
In Shakespeare's play ''A Midsummer Night's Dream'', Duke Theseus is about to marry Hippolyta, queen of the Amazons. Although she is a relatively minor character, we will get to know her a bit better in this lesson.

An Upcoming Wedding

Almost everyone loves weddings—seeing the lovely bride walk down the aisle, noticing the flowers, and last, but not least, enjoying the wedding feast. Weddings are joyous occasions, and such was the upcoming wedding of Theseus, the Duke of Athens, and Hippolyta, the queen of the Amazons, in Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream. The couple had a most unusual courtship; they seemed to fall in love while battling each other—literally!

As the play opens, we see Theseus and Hippolyta talking about the ceremony that will take place in four days. Theseus admits that he can hardly wait that long, but Hippolyta assures him that four days and nights will quickly pass.

Character Traits of Hippolyta and Theseus

Oddly enough, it seems that the two met and fell in love while doing battle. The mighty Theseus met his match in the lovely, larger-than-life fighting Amazon queen. Theseus states:

Hippolyta, I woo'd thee with my sword,
And won thy love, doing thee injuries;
But I will wed thee in another key,
With pomp, with triumph and with revelling
(Act 1, Scene 1).

In this statement, Theseus not only states how he fell in love with Hippolyta but that he wounded her and somehow won her love in the process.

The Fairy Connection

Two warring fairies, King Oberon and Queen Titania, argue over Theseus and Hipplyta, even in the midst of their own conflict over a human orphan boy. As Oberon and Titania speak, Titania jealously accuses Oberon of having some feelings for Hippolyta, calling her his 'bouncing Amazon,' buskin'd mistress,' and his 'warrior love' (Act 1, Scene 2). Oberon is not put off and, in turn, accuses Titania of loving Theseus. But, the fairies also speak of blessing the couple on their wedding day.

The End of the Story

There isn't much more said of Hippolyta in this play, except that she happily marries Theseus in a triple wedding along with Demetrius and Helena, and Lysander and Hermia. Together, they all enjoy the play-within-a-play Pyramus and Thisbe, albeit poorly presented.

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