Montrose, an influential new historicist critic, discusses A Midsummer Night's Dream as "a new production of Elizabethan culture, enlarging the dimensions of the cultural field and altering the lines of force within it. (..)" In this essay he explores "how Shakespeare's play and other Elizabethan texts figure the Elizabethan sex-gender system and the queen's place within it." (Montrose 1996: 102-3)

Discussing how Queen Elizabeth was seen by her people, he shows how a dream about Elizabeth, written down by Simon Forman in 1597, coincides with A Midsummer Night's Dream's depiction of the relationship between Titania, the queen of the fairies, and Bottom.

Bottom's dream, like Forman's, is an experience of fleeting intimacy with a powerful female who is at once lover, mother, and queen. The liason between The Fairy Queen and the assified artisan is an outrageous theatrical realisation of a personal fantasy that was obviously not Forman's alone. Titania treats Bottom as if her were both her child and her lover. And she herself is ambivalentely nurturing and threatening, imperious and enthralled. (Montrose 1996: 106)

Titania controls Bottom as a mother might, yet she herself is controlled by Oberon. So a "fantasy of male dependency upon a Queen is inscribed within the imaginative reality of the dramatist's control over a Queen" (Montrose 1996: 107).


in the text:

III i 145-6, where Titania ties up Bottom's tounge, and keeps him from leaving her.

see also:

Montrose also discusses amazons.

New historicism.

Titania's relationship with Bottom has also been seen as an example of bestiality.