|A Midsummer Night's Dream|
The Lamb Shakespeare for the Young
Illustrated by Helen Stratton
Egeus comes before Theseus, the Duke of Athens to "complain that his daughter Hermia, whom he had commanded to marry Demetrius, a young man of a noble Athenian family, refused to obey him, because she loved another young Athenian, named Lysander."
It's funny how in this Lamb Shakespeare for the Young retelling, published in 1908, the author comforts his readers (presumably the young) that while daughters who refused to marry the suitors their fathers chose were to be put to death under Athenian law, "this law was seldom or never put in execution." The author also adds — and I am not sure Shakespeare makes such a big deal about this part of the plot — that fathers "do not often desire the death of their own daughters, even though they do happen to prove a little refractory . . ."
In the drawing, Hermia is rather resigned. She sits. Her hands are calm by her side. Her father, while old, is a spry old man, and he seems animated in bringing his case before the Duke. Egeus is thoughtful like a student, with his chin resting in his hand.
I wonder if Hermia is seething with anger? Or is she just blithe and becoming, secretly humming a lighthearted tune? Maybe she is already scheming her escape with Lysander into the woods.
What do you think?
Shakespeare, William. The Lamb Shakespeare for the Young. A Midsummer Night's Dream. New York: Duffield and Company, 1908.
Image Source: Google Books