So will I grow, so live, so die, my lord,
Ere I will yield my virgin patent up
Unto his Lordship, whose unwishèd yoke
My soul consents not to give sovereignty.
– William Shakespeare
A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Act 1, Scene 1. Hermia shows herself to be one of Shakespeare’s strong women as she defies the wishes of her father Egeus and Duke Theseus. They have commanded that she marry Demetrius instead of Lysander. In a powerful expression of women’s autonomy, she declares that she will not give up the ownership of her virginity to her father. Nor will her soul give her father sovereignty to command her to enter an unwanted marriage. Using a metaphor, she compares marriage to Demetrius to an "unwishèd yoke" – a pair of oxen harnessed togeher under the yoke of enforced marriage. She says that she would rather die or become a nun than marry Demetrius.