Hegemonic Masculinity in A Midsummer Night’s Dream …

Thus, Theseus' suggestion in 1.1 of A Midsummer Night’s Dream, that Hermia marry a man she does not love rather than "live a barren sister" all her life would seem perfectly sensible to Shakespeare’s contemporaries....

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Neil, on the other hand, wanted to know who he was. He was always obedient to his father’s wishes, but he wanted to know more about himself. Acting was something he could do for himself – something that he enjoyed and allowed him to explore what he was able to accomplish. On the other hand, it was also a means of escaping his current reality by being someone else for a few hours. Keating suggested Neil talk to his father about this passion, but Neil second guessed his father’s actions by arguing that his father would never understand. He never gave his father the benefit of the doubt and tried to explain. Keating even went so far as to tell Neil that even if his father didn’t see things his way, he’d soon be out of school and could do what he wished then. Neil wouldn’t listen to this advice, and later when Keating asked if Neil had spoken to his father, Neil said he did consent. (I think Keating knew he was lying but he chose not to pursue the matter because at that point, Neil had to take responsibility for his own actions.)

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Hermia and helena essay Friendships and the Relationships of Women in A Midsummer Nights Dream by William Shakespeare

Now the only thing Neil fell victim to was his own passions. He was not a victim of his father because his father did not make him nor want him to kill himself. Neil crucified himself. If Puck’s costume is supposed to be symbolic of the crown of thorns – which I’m not certain it is – then it was Neil that put it on his own head. It was Neil that pulled the trigger and killed himself. No one else made him do it. I personally don’t view him as a martyr because his cause was a completely selfish one. There was no reason for him to do so. A martyr sacrifices his life for a specific cause, and it is usually beneficial to that movement, but Neil was not a part of any kind of great cause. He was a coward and took the easy way out of a difficult situation.