Michael Hoffman's 1999 film adaptation of Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream transports the play's drama from ancient Athens to an imaginary Italian village named Monte Athena at the turn of the nineteenth century. In a beautiful world in which the industrial revolution has just begun, the bicycle is the novel invention. Hermia and Lysander escape on a bicycle while Demetrius, the promised groom by Hermia's father chases her, also on a bicycle. Perhaps, Hoffman chose to set his film in industrial Italy since it offers more of a universal romantic feel with the beautiful surroundings and the bicycles that would appeal to a wider audience. However, by switching the setting from Athens to Italy, Hoffman has made the play lose its vibrant mythological quality Shakespeare created by locating his play in Greece. Three core problems lie in doubts over whether (1) Hermia would get executed in nineteenth century Italy for disobeying her father, (2) Duke Theseus and Hippolyta's loss of power, and (3) the loss of Bottom's free-flowing exuberance. .
The question of whether Hermia would get executed in nineteenth century Italy for disobeying her father is one of immense importance. The entire basis of the play is based on her possible execution that leads to her eloping with Lysander. According to the plot, Hermia is in love with Lysander. However, her father does not approve of their relationship. Instead, he has arranged for Hermia to marry Demetrius, a gentleman of his liking. When Hermia rejects Demetrius, her father brings her in front of Duke Theseus demanding that the law punishes her. Duke Theseus warns Hermia, telling her that she will be sent to a nunnery or be put to death if she does not comply with her father's wishes. Regarding ancient Athens, this punishment is perfectly reasonable. Athenian law required and assumed that a woman was under control and protection of her kyrios or guardian, who was responsible for her safety and well-being.