Happy Summer Solstice readers! For today’s holiday post I have decided to take on the subject of Oberon! In many tales there are faerie kings, as well as queens. The name of a faerie king is most often Oberon, and this is likely based in older folk tales across Britain. Most notably Oberon is the name that Shakespeare gave to his Faerie King in A Midsummer Night’s Dream!
In the story of the famous play, Oberon is in a fight with his Faerie Queen, Titania, over a changeling child she had taken in when his human mother died. Oberon instructed Puck to use the nectar of a flower to her sleeping eyelids. This acted as a love spell, making Titania fall in love with the next person she saw upon waking. It must also be noted that Puck was the one to choose to also use this nectar to make a mixup of the love lives of humans for his own amusement!
The first person Titania saw was ,famously, Bottom, who had been transformed by Puck to have a donkey’s head! This lead to the hilarious passage of the play, with Titania and Bottom having love scenes, all while he is still donkey headed. At the end of the play the spell is removed and Titania once again woke up, this time horrified by what she believed to be a nightmare, “Methought I was enamour’d of an ass.” Oberon, of course, simply comforted his distraught wife.
The King of the Faeries is often seen as a mere consort of the Queen. The Faery Courts are very often matriarchal, given that they are rooted in ancient Celtic tradition, and in those traditions rule of the land passed matrilineally! It is of no surprise that Shakespeare, living in the Elizabethan era, would have chosen to have the King one-up the Queen. This is a patriarchal spin on Celtic tradition.
Oberon is also a character in the book Mistress of All Evil by Serena Valentino. This book is part of the Disney Villains book series. It tells the story of the evil faerie Maleficent, and Oberon appeared as the Faerie King!
For the Solstice I suggest you all take the time to be in nature and feel the pull of the faeries! I hope you have enjoyed my Solstice post on the King of the Faeries! Let me know your thoughts in the comments below!
Note on Image: The image at the top of the post is Illustration of Oberon enchanting Titania by W. Heath Robinson, 1914. I found the image on wikipedia.org.
- A Midsummer Night’s Dream by William Shakespeare
- Mistress of All Evil by Serena Valentino
- The Fairy Bible by Teresa Moorey
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