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Titania & Oberon in A Midsummer Night's Dream: Relationship & Fight

Titania & Oberon in A Midsummer Night's Dream: Relationship & Fight
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  • 0:03 A Rocky Relationship
  • 0:26 Before the Changeling
  • 1:08 The Boy Comes Between Them
  • 1:45 Oberon's Revenge
  • 2:22 The Lovers Reunite
  • 3:11 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Dori Starnes

Dori has taught college and high school English courses, and has Masters degrees in both literature and education.

Oberon and Titania are King and Queen of the Fairies, but their tumultuous relationship causes havoc in the natural world. When Titania adopts a little Changeling Boy, jealousy sends Oberon over the edge and he seeks revenge.

A Rocky Relationship

Does familiarity breed contempt? In the relationship between the King of the Fairies, Oberon, and his Fairy Queen, Titania, this certainly seems to be the case. Though they've been together forever, it's anything but smooth sailing. This lesson will focus on the relationship and fight between Oberon and Titania in William Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream.

Before the Changeling

It would be easy to blame the Changeling Boy for the problems that come up between Titania and Oberon, but there are hints given that all was not paradise for the King and Queen of the Fairies beforehand. Titania even admits that their fighting has caused problems with the weather. Titania says a 'progeny of evil' has come from their fighting.

While Oberon and Titania obviously love each other, they aren't exactly faithful to each other. Oberon claims Titania is in love with Theseus, the Duke of Athens, and Titania accuses Oberon of affairs with several mortal women, including Theseus's fiancee, Hippolyta. So everything with the Fairies isn't all sunshine and roses, even before the Changeling Boy comes into the picture.

The Boy Comes Between Them

The fight between Oberon and Titania starts with a character so insignificant (at first glance at least) that he isn't even named. But the little Changeling Boy, who Titania got from India, is the wedge that drives Oberon and Titania apart.

Oberon demands the boy from Titania so he can become an attendant in Oberon's court. He doesn't see this as a large request, saying 'I do but beg a little changeling boy.' But, Titania will have none of it. She has been taking care of the boy in memory of her friend, who died birthing him. She spends all her time with the boy, and Oberon is jealous enough to plan revenge on her in order to get his way.

Oberon's Revenge

Oberon approaches Puck, his fairy servant, with a single request. He asks Puck to find the juice of a flower that will make Titania fall in love with the first thing she sees. He then tells Puck to make sure that the first thing is a monster. Puck, who loves playing tricks on people and fairies alike, joyfully accepts and changes the head of Bottom, an actor rehearsing in the woods, into that of a donkey.

When Titania awakes, she sees Bottom (with his donkey head) and immediately falls in love with him. She spends hours in her bower with Bottom, feeding him oats and hay and having her fairy attendants play music and dance for him.

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