A Midsummer's Night Dreamor

A Midsummer's Night Dreamor

A Midsummer's Night Dream

It was one of those historic summer nights that makes you feel like everything is possible. The moon was as big as a balloon as it floated just above the tops of the lilac and daffodil bushes in the garden, and from my bedroom window I could see the entire town laid out before me. The innocent beauty of it all made the day-to-day seem insignificant, if not a little bit dark, I thought.


The play opens with Theseus and Hyppolyta who were four days away from their wedding. Theseus was not happy about how long he had to wait while Hyppolyta thinks it's a dream. Theseus is confronted by Egeus and his daughter Hermia, who is in love with Lysander, resistant to her father's demand that she marries Demetrius, whom he has arranged for her to marry. Enraged, Egeus invokes an ancient Athenian law before Duke Theseus, whereby a daughter needs to marry a suitor chosen by her father, or else face death. Theseus offers her another choice: lifelong chastity as a nun worshipping the goddess Diana, but they both deny his choice and make a secret plan to escape into the forest for Lysander's Aunt's house, in order to run away from Theseus. Hermia tells their plans to Helena, her best friend, who pines unrequitedly for Demetrius, who broke up with her to be with Hermia. Desperate to reclaim Demetrius's love, Helena tells Demetrius about the plan and he follows them in hopes of finding Hermia.

Instead, Puck mistakes Lysander for Demetrius, not having actually seen either before, and administers the juice to the sleeping Lysander. Helena, coming across him, wakes him while attempting to determine whether he is dead or asleep. Upon this happening, Lysander immediately falls in love with Helena. Helena, thinking Lysander is playing a trick on her, runs away with Lysander following her. When Hermia wakes up after dreaming a snake ate her heart, she sees that Lysander is gone and goes out in the woods to find him. (Source: en.wikipedia.org)


Peter Quince and his fellow players Nick Bottom, Francis Flute, Robin Starveling, Tom Snout and Snug plan to put on a play for the wedding of the Duke and the Queen, "the most lamentable comedy and most cruel death of Pyramus and Thisbe". Quince reads the names of characters and bestows them on the players. Nick Bottom, who is playing the main role of Pyramus, is over-enthusiastic and wants to dominate others by suggesting himself for the characters of Thisbe, the Lion, and Pyramus at the same time. Quince insists that Bottom can only play the role of Pyramus. Bottom would also rather be a tyrant and recites some lines of Ercles. Bottom is told by Quince that he would do the Lion so terribly as to frighten the duchess and ladies enough for the Duke and Lords to have the players hanged. Snug remarks that he needs the Lion's part because he is "slow of study". Quince assures Snug that the role of the lion is "nothing but roaring." Quince then ends the meeting telling his actors "at the Duke's oak we meet".

As Duke Theseus prepares for his marriage to Hippolyta, Queen of the Amazons, he is interrupted by a courtier, Egeus. Egeus asks for the Duke to intervene in a dispute. His daughter, Hermia, will not agree to marry Demetrius (whom Egeus has chosen for her) because she loves a gentleman named Lysander. The Duke asks Hermia to be obedient to her father. He offers her one of two options: she must either die or accept a celibate life as a nun in Diana's temple. (Source: www.shakespeare.org.uk)


In Athens, Theseus, Hippolyta and the lovers watch the six workmen perform Pyramus and Thisbe. The performers are so terrible playing their roles that the guests laugh as if it were meant to be a comedy, and everyone retires to bed. Afterwards, Oberon, Titania, Puck, and other fairies enter, and bless the house and its occupants with good fortune. After all the other characters leave, Puck "restores amends" and suggests that what the audience experienced might just be a dream.

First performed around 1596, Shakespeare’s comic fantasy of four lovers who find themselves bewitched by fairies is a sly reckoning with love, jealousy and marriage. For centuries it’s been one of Shakespeare’s most beloved plays. Read a character analysis of Puck, plot summary, and important quotes. (Source: www.sparknotes.com)



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