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فصل 01

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دانلود اپلیکیشن «زیبوک»

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PART ONE

Love and the Law

The Duke of Athens was called Theseus. He was very happy because he had fallen in love with Hippolyta, the Queen of the Amazons. They were going to be married in four days’ time, and Theseus was impatient for the wedding day to arrive.

‘If only these four days were over!’ he said to Hippolyta. ‘Then our happiness would begin.’

‘They will soon pass,’ she told him tenderly. ‘Four days are nothing. Be patient, Theseus.’

Theseus wanted the whole of Athens to celebrate his wedding, and he gave very clear instructions to Philostrate, his master of revels.

‘Make sure that everyone enjoys himself,’ Theseus ordered. ‘Organise some wonderful entertainment for the people of the city. My wedding must be a happy and memorable event for Athens. I want the whole of Athens to take part in this great day, and to share my happiness with me.’

As Theseus was giving these orders, four people approached the Duke. One of them was an old man, Egeus. He greeted Theseus politely: ‘I wish you long happiness, sir!’

Theseus smiled at Egeus. ‘Thank you. Egeus. How are things with you, my friend?’

Egeus looked serious for a moment, and then he answered the Duke.

‘To tell you the truth, things are not going well for me. Theseus,’ he began. ‘In fact I have come to you to help me resolve a problem. It concerns these young people with me.’

He pointed to the three young people who were standing beside him. There were two young men and a girl. The girl looked angry and defiant, and the young men were glaring at each other angrily.

‘The problem is this,’ Egeus told Theseus. ‘Demetrius was going to marry my daughter here, Hermia. Everything was arranged between our two families. I approved of the marriage, and so did Demetrius’s father.’

Demetrius nodded his head in agreement with Egeus.

‘That’s quite right, sir. Everything was arranged.’

‘But then Lysander interfered with everything,’ Egeus complained.

He turned to the other young man who was standing beside him.

‘Don’t argue now, young fellow, you know you interfered!’ he said angrily. ‘You brought Hermia presents, you wrote her poetry, you sang songs outside her window. You did everything you could to make her fall in love with you. And now she refuses to obey me - she says she won’t marry Demetrius!’

Egeus frowned at Lysander. The young man looked back at him. He did not seem afraid. Then Hermia’s father spoke to Theseus again.

‘I have come to you sir.’ he said, ‘to ask for justice. Hermia has refused to obey me. If she won’t marry Demetrius, she should die. That is the law of Athens, as you know. Hermia belongs to me, and if she won’t do what I tell her, she should die.’

Theseus thought hard for a moment. He did not approve of children who disobeyed their parents. Then he turned to Hermia.

‘What have you got to say?’ he asked. Then he raised a finger in warning. ‘Before you reply.’ he said sternly. ‘you should remember one thing. Your father made you - he has the right to destroy you if he chooses. Demetrius is undoubtedly a good man and he would make a good husband for you. You should accept him if that is what your father wishes.’

Hermia blushed. It was difficult to tell if she was embarrassed or very angry. Then she decided to speak. She spoke in a very determined way.

‘Lysander is also a good man,’ she told the Duke, ‘and Lysander is the man I love. I will never marry against my will.’

Theseus was angry at the girl’s reply. He asked Hermia to think very carefully about what she would do. He told her that if she refused to obey her father she would be severely punished. She would either have to die, or to spend the rest of her life in a convent.

‘Very well, my Lord,’ replied Hermia. ‘I will die or I will go to a convent for the rest of my life. But one thing is certain - I will never marry Demetrius!’

This reply annoyed Theseus, but he was determined to give Hermia a chance to change her mind.

‘Don’t decide now,’ Theseus told her. ‘I will give you four days to make up your mind. But this I promise you. On the day of my own wedding, you will either die or go to a convent, or you will marry Demetrius.’

Lysander now began to argue with Egeus.

‘Why are you so opposed to my love for Hermia?’ he wanted to know. ‘I am as good a man as Demetrius. I come from a noble family, as he does. I am rich, as he is. I love your daughter. Why don’t you allow us to marry? Besides, Demetrius used to be in love with Helena. He made her fall in love with him. He broke her heart. He should marry Helena, not Hermia.’

Demetrius looked angrily at Lysander. It was true that he had been in love with Helena, and that he had treated her very badly. He knew it, and he was ashamed of his past behaviour. But now he was in love with Hermia, and he was determined to marry her.

‘Enough!’ Theseus said to Lysander. ‘I have given my judgment. Hermia has four days to think about the matter.’

Egeus thanked Theseus for his judgement - in the case. He was sure that Hermia would choose to marry Demetrius, rather than face the penalty of disobedience.

‘And now, my old friend,’ said Theseus to Egeus, ‘I want to speak to you and Demetrius privately.’

‘With pleasure, sir,’ Egeus said.

‘Certainly, sir!’ Demetrius said.

‘Come with me, and we’ll discuss this matter together,’ Theseus commanded.

Theseus, Egeus and Demetrius went off together, leaving Hermia and Lysander alone. They were very sad at the punishment that faced Hermia, and they thought that Theseus was unjust. They did not know what to do. Then Lysander had an idea. He had an aunt who lived some distance away from Athens. They could go there and marry. The law of Athens could not touch them there.

‘If you really love me.’ he told Hermia, ‘you’ll run away with me. I’ll wait for you tomorrow night, in the wood near Athens. Then we’ll go to my aunt’s house. What do you think of the plan?’

Hermia promised that she would meet Lysander in the wood.

As the lovers were making their plan to escape from Athens, they were joined by Helena. Helena was very unhappy because she loved Demetrius.

‘Why does Demetrius love you?’ she asked Hermia with a sigh. ‘What have you done to make him fall in love with you, when he loved me before?’

Hermia smiled at her friend.

‘I’ll tell you what I do.’ she said. ‘I ignore him - but he still loves me. I am rude to him - but he still loves me. The more I hate him, the more he loves me.’

Then Hermia told Helena what Theseus had said to her. Helena felt very sorry that her friend was in danger of such a severe punishment.

‘Lysander and I are going to run away from Athens,’ Hermia explained to her friend.

Helena thought about the lovers’ plan to escape to the wood. Then she made a plan of her own.

‘I’ll tell Demetrius what Lysander and Hermia are going to do,’ she decided. ‘He’s sure to follow Hermia into the wood. Perhaps he’ll thank me for bringing him the news.’

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