Oberon: Character Analysis in A Midsummer Night's Dream

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      Introduction. Oberon is the king of fairies and a source of supernatural interference in the play. He is married to Titania. Being the king of fairies, he has numerous fairies at his order of which Puck is his chief attendant. However he is inclined towards getting an Indian page for himself who is currently with Titania. This is the major cause of conflict between Oberon and Titania throughout the play to the extent that they are not willing to talk to each other or be in each other's company. Whenever they are forced to talk to each other, they end up quarreling and creating a negative atmosphere.

      Infidelity. Oberon is extremely angry with Titania as she has a changeling, an Indian boy who was stolen from a human household. Oberon is enchanted with this boy and wants to acquire him so that he can use him as his own page. However, Titania is also obsessed with this boy and does not want to give him away. This leads to a bitter ego clash between them. Oberon keeps this as a grudge and starts to conceive of a plan to make Titania give up this attendant voluntarily. While Titania and Oberon are arguing, we realize that Oberon has not been entirely faithful in his marriage. Titania accuses him of having an illegitimate affair with the 'Queen of the Amazons' referring to Hippolyta. Thus the reader infers that Oberon is not only stubborn and arrogant in his marriage but also disloyal in his marriage.

      Cunning Nature. Oberon conceives a plan to cause a change of heart in Titania. He devises this plan to ensure that Titania will give up her Indian changeling or attendant voluntarily. He asks Puck to squeeze the juice of a magical flower on the eyes of Titania. He also instructs Puck to do this task in such a way that Titania should wake up and see a living creature. Under the influence of this magical potion, Titania would fall in love with this living creature. Oberon would seize this opportunity and make her give up the attendant voluntarily. She would easily agree to do this as she would be preoccupied with her love. This is an interesting and a rather complicated plan. It goes on to show that Oberon is a cunning and conniving person who is willing to go to any end so that his ends are served. He is also comfortable with making his own wife look foolish in front of others as long as his needs are being served and suited.

      Conclusion. Oberon is a benevolent fairy and blesses the three married couples to lead a life of prosperity; happiness, health and wealth. However, a close reading and analysis of the play reveals that it is nearly impossible for the reader to generalize anything about Oberon's character. He seems nice to characters that he likes and is despicable towards characters who he detests. For instance, he is extremely wrathful towards Titania often calling her names and alleging infidelity on her part. Puck however is his favorite fairy and he treats him very gently often referring to him as 'my gentle Puck' or 'my sweet Puck'. During the end of the play, there is also an instance where he starts feeling pitiable towards Titania and wishes to reverse the action of the magical flower but only after his own work is done.

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