How do our emotions influence our perceptions of the world around us?

In William Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream we see that our emotions often influence our perceptions of the world around us when Egeus forces Hermia to either marry Demetrius or to die. Egeus is very angry that Hermia loves Lysander, and since Egeus likes Demetrius and not Lysander, he wants his daughter to marry Demetrius, whom Hermia does not love. Because of his revulsion against Lysander, Egeus is overruling his daughters say and ignoring what she wants. This is proven when Egeus says, “Full of vexation come I, with complaint / Against my child, my daughter Hermia. / Stand forth, Demetrius. My noble lord, / This man hath my consent to marry her. / Stand forth, Lysander: and, my gracious duke, / This man hath bewitch’d the bosom of my child: / […] With cunning hast thou filch’d my daughter’s heart” (1.1.25-35). In this quote Egeus very clearly states that he will not let Hermia marry Lysander and he also says that Lysander has basically poisoned Hermia’s heart with lies. Another thing Egeus states is that he comes in frustration and anger, which can cloud his way of thinking. Likewise, Egeus says, “As she is mine, I may dispose of her: / Which shall be, either to this gentleman / Or to her death, according to our law / Immediately provided in that case” (1.1.40-45). In this quote Egeus is saying that he can dispose of Hermia as he likes. I don’t know about old english but in modern english it sounds very much like he thinks of Hermia as a napkin, which can be disposed of at any time after the desired work is done. Moreover, he says that Hermia must die if she doesn’t marry Demetrius, which is very chilling as he seems to have no problem with his daughter being killed. Yikes. Egeus’ anger is preventing him to see the world from Hermia’s point of view, with calmness and coolness.



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