Explores the discursive patterns of reference encountered in "A Midsummer Night's Dream," by William Shakespeare. Elements needed to trace a zooerastic reference in the play; Scenes that exhibit bestialized eroticism; Proof that the play developed an extended series references to same sex relations.
|Scooped by Lana Delasanta|
After reading “Economies of Desire in A Midsummer Night’s Dream” by Bruce Boehrer, the depth of Shakespeare’s language becomes very elaborate. In the criticism the author argues that “the bestiality motif in A Midsummer Night’s Dream parallels and inverts the play’s various references to same-sex communities and attachments…” The most effective way of supporting this thesis is by analyzing the actions of Titania, queen of the fairies, and Bottom, the tradesman. As noted at the beginning of the play, Titania and her husband Oberon are arguing over a “changeling page” that Oberon wants as his servant, and Titania will not give up. The reason behind her intentions is what the author begins to investigate. In the text Titania says, “His mother was a vot’ress of my order / And in the spiced Indian air by night / Full often hath she gossiped by my side / And sat with me on Neptune’s yellow sands…” (II.i.123-126). Boehrer argues that the relationship of that between Titania and the changeling’s mother was more than just a friendship, because Titania is so unwilling to give up the boy to Oberon. It seems that the relationship that the two women had together was in fact, very special. They are able to talk with each other and develop a deep friendship, without the presence of a man. It is also interesting to think about the fact that the changeling page’s mother is also a human, which is a cross-species relationship. Titania chooses to idolize the relationship with a human woman over the relationship with her husband, by refusing to hand over the changeling page. From this information, the author assumes that “the ‘wanton joy in achieved sexuality, in fertility’ that Titania’s description of her votaress conveys, and that sharply differentiates her and Titania from the company of men.” However, the love that is between them is later displayed within the relationship with the changeling page, and later, the asinine Bottom. As Gail Paster says, within the play, “Titania treats Bottom as if he were both her child and her lover.” Not only does Titania care for Bottom and make sure all of his needs are met, but she also takes him to bed with her at the end of the night. Boehrer argues further that the asinine Bottom acts as a replacement of the changeling page, which is why when encountered by Oberon again in the presence of Bottom, she willingly gives him up. Boehrer also wrote that “the bestiality motif in A Midsummer Night’s Dream operates as a structural and phantasmatic counterpart to the play’s preoccupation with same-sex relationships…” The two sexual motifs the author explains in the criticism collide within this one plot point. Not only does the changeling page allow one to assume that Titania had same sex relations with a human, but also the motif of bestiality is depicted within her relationship with Bottom, with the head of a donkey. Although all of this may be true, the concepts are very difficult to grasp. Boehrer’s observations and in depth plot analysis is very complex, and almost a little bit too exaggerated. However, the evidence behind the argument is clearly stated, allowing the person who is reading the criticism to genuinely believe that there is a presence of homosexuality and bestiality within Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream.
Boehrer, Bruce. "Economies Of Desire In A Midsummer Night's Dream." Shakespeare Studies 32.(2004): 99-117. Literary Reference Center. Web. 2 Mar. 2013.