enforced chastity

Titania speaks of flowers and chastity:

The moon methinks looks with a watery eye;
And when she weeps, weeps every little flower,
Lamenting some enforced chastity. (III i 191-3)

This passage can be interpreted in at least two ways, that are clearly opposed to each other. Brooks and many others assume that Titania means the flowers weep because they have lost their chastity against their will: "when the moon weeps, flowers in sympathy mourn the rapes they have suffered" (Brooks 1983: cxxix).

But maybe the moon and the flowers weep because they are forced to be chaste when they would prefer not to be so? As Michael Andrew writes, "Titania is neither the patroness nor the personal exponent of chastity;"one could indeed argue she is quite the opposite. And though the moon is sometimes associated with virginity, it is also a symbol of fertility. Andrew thus concludes:

Considered in the light of this moon, Titania's meaning is clear: women in love are sometimes chaste against their wills. (..) "enforced chastity" is chastity which has been denied the opportunity Titania does not mean to deny herself. (Andrews 1984: 188)

in the text:

Titania speaks of the flowers' enforced chastity in III i 193.

see also:

The use of flowers in the play.