Discuss the similarities and differences in the presentation of Theseus and Oberon in a Midsummer nights dream. .

Theseus and Oberon are leaders of their respective kingdoms. Theseus is Duke of Athens and Oberon is king of the fairies and are therefore both figures of authority and royalty. The positions they occupy are reflected by their use of language and their relationships with other characters in the play. .

Theseus is the ruler of the Athenian State which was seen as being highly civilised and controlled by strict but fair laws. It is the job of Theseus to see that the laws of Athens are obeyed even when he feels them to be severe. We are first introduced to him when he is acting as an adjudicator between Hermia and her father in the matter of her marriage do Dimetrius.(she is in love with Lysander, and wants to marry him against her fathers expressed wishes) In act 1 scene 1 line 117 to 120 we see a good example of Theseus" firm expression mixed with some compassion.

"For you, fair Hermia, look you arm yourself .

to fit your fancies to your fathers will,.

Or else the law of Athens yields you up-.

Which by no means we may extenuate-.

To death, or to a vow of single life".

Theseus is called upon to be a judge and guide because he is considered a wise and fair ruler who will uphold the law. His firmness is tempered by consideration for Hermia. He tells her that she must marry the man her father has chosen for her, but gives her time to think it over. Theseus therefore represents order in the world. He is the good and fair king, which was a very important concept to the Shakespearean audience. Theseus represents kindness and consideration, tolerance and forgiveness. This makes him opposite in nature to the selfish and mischievous Oberon who is the king of the powers of chaos. Theseus shows how power can be used wisely and responsibly in contrast to Oberon who meddles and makes mistakes. His mischievous spells go wrong and create unforeseen and hilarious consequences, for instance the Queen of the fairies Titania falling in love with Bottom who has been transformed into an ass.