A Midsummer Night’s Dream is one of the many plays written by renowned English author William Shakespeare. In this comedy, the writer addresses the themes of love, identity, and parent-child relationships, promoting the readers to consider what a parent should be able to influence in their children’s lives. This essay will discuss parental authority, the limits it should have, and argue against the idea of complete familial influence over one’s life.
A Midsummer Night’s Dream provides an excellent example of a parent-child relationship that can be considered dysfunctional in Egeus and Hermia. Egeus views his daughter as his property, denying her the right to marry the man she loves, Lysander. He blames the latter for their blossoming relationship, stating that “This man hath bewitch’d the bosom of my child” (Shakespeare, 2020). In saying this, Egeus denies Hermia any agency over her life, dismissing the notion that she can make decisions for herself.
Such a defective parent-child rapport can lead to the complete eradication of the relationship. Egeus is assured he has the right to control Hermia’s life because he is her father. He would prefer to see his daughter dead than to defy his will, stating, “As she is mine, I may dispose of her” (Shakespeare, 2020). This behavior drives Hermia away from Egeus as she feels constrained and unable to express herself.
It can be argued that parents assert control over their children to protect them and because they want the best for them. Choosing a partner for one’s offspring is considered a norm in many cultures. Moreover, parents have more experience and can judge some situations better than their children. However, intrusive parenting is damaging to children’s functioning and motivation (Robichaud et al., 2020). Despite controlling parents wanting to shield and guide their children, intrusion into every aspect of their lives is ultimately detrimental. Therefore, children should have absolute control over all decisions that have a direct impact on their lives.
In summary, Shakespeare depicts many dysfunctional relationships in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, including the one between Egeus and Hermia. Egeus deems his daughter to be his property and threatens her with death if she does not comply with his wishes. Overall, parents should not have complete influence over their children’s lives as such intrusive behavior can substantially impact the latter’s ability to function independently and express themselves freely and the parent-child relationship itself.
Robichaud, J., Roy, M., Ranger, F., & Mageau, G. A. (2020). The impact of environmental threats on controlling parenting and children’s motivation. Journal of Family Psychology, 34(7), 804–813. Web.
Shakespeare. (2020). A Midsummer Night’s Dream. The Folger Shakespeare. Web.