india and fairyland

According to Barbara Hendricks, India symbolised difference and the unknown in the Elizabethan age, as well as representing great riches:

India is a world where an Amazon and a fairy king can be lovers: a place where the visible signs of difference between Europeans and Indians can be remarked and similarities unacknowledged: a site where exoticism and difference are as conventional as trade and commodities — a place fit for exploration and exploitations. (Hendricks 1996: 51)

Hendricks traces the history of the figure of Oberon, finding that many literary sources connect this character with India. India becomes a hub for all that is related to fairyland in Hendricks' reading. (Hendricks 1996: 44) In early modern travel narratives, India was "a space where sexual freedom could be simultaneously presented and condemned." (Hendricks 1996: 50) Thus Titania as well as Oberon are connected with India (see for instance II i 24 ff).

India's role as precious object and unknown other is also present in the role of the Indian boy in A Midsummer Night's Dream. Oberon insists that the quarrel between he and Titania is a result of Titania's refusal to give him this changeling boy. But Titania loves the boy, and refuses to give him up until Oberon has forced her to love a monster. The boy himself becomes a mere object in this bartering.