Gender Analysis of Shakespeare’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” and Edward Albee’s “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?”

Document Type

Student Presentation

Presentation Date

April 2017

Faculty Sponsor

Jacky O'Connor


This essay explores the sacrifices men and women make when conforming to predetermined roles decided by society. A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf center on couples interacting with each other, over a long night, under the influence of magicks or alcohol. In Shakespeare’s 1595 work, two mortal couples are manipulated by the fairy king and queen in their own maneuvering of each other’s feelings and obligations. In Albee’s 1961 play, two couples get together after a faculty dinner at the older couple’s house. At this house, the older couple proceeds to manipulate the younger couple and each other in a series of interactions over the duration of the night. These plays center on interpersonal politics, drawing in generational divisions and interactions. In focusing on two plays that take place in different time periods, I illustrate how gender and generational relations have changed.

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