Read A Midsummer Night’s Dream’s “Full Of Vexation Come I, With Complaint” monologue below with modern English translation & analysis:
Spoken by Egeus, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Act 1, Scene 1
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;
Thou, thou, Lysander, thou hast given her rhymes,
And interchanged love-tokens with my child:
Thou hast by moonlight at her window sung,
With feigning voice verses of feigning love,
And stolen the impression of her fantasy
With bracelets of thy hair, rings, gawds, conceits,
Knacks, trifles, nosegays, sweetmeats, messengers
Of strong prevailment in unharden’d youth:
With cunning hast thou filch’d my daughter’s heart,
Turn’d her obedience, which is due to me,
To stubborn harshness: and, my gracious duke,
Be it so she; will not here before your grace
Consent to marry with Demetrius,
I beg the ancient privilege of Athens,
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.
“Full Of Vexation Come I, With Complaint” Monologue Translation:
I’m furious! I’ve got a problem with my daughter Hermia. Step forward, Demetrius. My noble lord, this man has my consent to marry her. Lysander! This one, my gracious duke, has put some kind of spell on her. You….. you, Lysander! You have given her poems, and exchanged love-tokens with my child. You have sung beneath her window by moonlight – so-called songs of so-called love! And captured her mind with bracelets of your hair, and rings and ribbons, and baubles, games, toys, knick-knacks, posies, sweets – things giddy girls are easily swayed by. You’ve cunningly stolen her heart and turned her obedience, which I’m entitled to, to obstinate wilfulness. And, my gracious duke, if she won’t consent to marry Demetrius, right here, in front of your grace, then I claim my ancient Athenian right that, as she is mine, I can do whatever I like with her. She will either marry this gentleman, Demetrius, or die according to the law in such matters.