In Modern productions of Shakespeare’s plays, actors sometimes take roles of multiple characters. In A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Theseus, Hippolyta, Oberon and Titania are evidently symbolic of each other. Both ruling couples have similar conflict of power, and progression towards peace; therefore, Theseus and Hippolyta and Oberon and Titania can be played by the same actors.
Shakespeare shows the tension of power between Theseus and Hippolyta from the beginning of the play. Theseus cannot wait for the wedding ceremony to his fair Hippolyta: “…but oh methinks how slow this old moon wanes! She lingers my desires…”(1.1.3-4), but Hippolyta on the other hand is savoring her last days of individualism and resisting submission. She states, ““Four days shall quickly steep themselves in nights; … and shall behold the night of our solemnities” (1.1.7-11). Hippolyta is from the Amazon which implies that she is wild and she is not used to having to submit to a king.
Oberon and Titania have a different situation but have the same tension of power. The fairy king and queen both live in the woods outside of the city and that’s where the scene takes place. Oberon and Titania openly display their struggle for power, in their own realm. Oberon becomes jealous of Titania love to her Indian boy. He demands her to hand over the boy but Titania refuses to do so “…I will not part with him” (2.1.143). At the core of this conflict there exists the same tension of power between their relationship and that of Theseus and Hippolyta.
Theseus and Hippolyta and Oberon and