Oberon

Definitions

Astronomy

  • Outermost satellite of Uranus, in a retrograde, 13-day orbit 583 000km in radius and precisely in Uranus’s equatorial plane. Discovered by William Herschel in 1787, Oberon was first viewed clearly by Voyager 2 in 1986 and turns out to be a cratered world some 1500km across, marked by crater rays like those seen emanating from some lunar craters. Oberon, unlike the inner satellites of Uranus, shows little sign of internal geological activity.

Theater

  • In Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream the Kingof the Fairies, whose quarrel with his wife Titania leadsindirectly to the various confusions on which the plot depends.

    The name Oberon is possibly connected to Alberich, who isthe king of the dwarves in Scandinavian mythology. The character firstappeared in Huon de Bordeaux, a medieval French romance, inwhich he is described as being the son of Julius Caesar and Morganle Fay. According to this source, Oberon was only threefeet high and at birth had received magical gifts from the fairies.

    Other stage works to feature the character include Jonson's masqueOberon, the Fairy Prince (1611), Goethe's Faust (Part I), and the musical extravaganza Oberon, or the Elf-King's Oath (1826), with music by Weber and libretto by J. R. Planché.

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