From the opening of the play we learn that Athens, ‘the court’ is a place of order and hierarchy. The court is a place where people must know their place in society and abide by the rules, going against these rules can result in grave consequences such as death. The hierarchy of the court is stratified by class and gender. The men of the court have power over the women in the court, this is shown by the way Egeus treats and speaks of his daughter Hermia.
In the opening of the play Egeus, wants his daughter Hermia to marry Demetrius, who he claims to be the ideal husband for his daughter Hermia. However Hermia is in love with Lysander who is also in love with her. They feel they would be a suited couple but this being the court, Hermia has no power to influence her fathers decision.
Theseus says “be advised, fair maid. To you, your father should be as a god”, this suggests that men are seen to be as a “god”, therefore in a much higher position than women. A god is also supposedly worthy of worship and someone you should devote your life too. It also suggests the Hermia being a women, should seek advice from her father being a man and a “god” in her eyes.
Eugeus says “and she is mine, and all my right of her I do estate unto Demetrius”. This suggests that in the court women are seen as the possession of men, they are the possession of their father until they marry the man her father deems suitable, then the ‘burden’ is passed unto the husband. This shows that in the court women have no power and that the men rule over them.
Theseus also says if Hermia refuses to marry the man she will “either to die the death, or to abjure forever the society of men”. This shows the consequences there are if one goes against the hierarchy and rules of the court. It also shows how much more important men are to women as it says “either to die the death”, which suggests that just because Hermia is going against what her father wants, they are willing to kill her. This...