A Midsummer Night's Dream
A Midsummer Night's Dream is a comedy, written by William Shakespeare. It is one of his most played pieces. It was written before 1598, when Frances Meres told about it in his Wit’s Treasury. Meres wrote, “so Shakespeare among the English is the most excellent in both kinds for the stage; for comedy, witness his Gentlemen of Verona, his errors, his Love’s Labour’s Lost, his Love’s Labour’s Won, his Midsummer Night’s Dream, and his Merchant of Venice.” It is about four young lovers from Athens. It mostly plays in a forest. It has become known especially because the characters interact with fairies. Besides the theatre play, which is very popular, lots of movies have been made of it. Benjamin Britten wrote an opera about it.
The story of the play is quite complicated, as it involves lots of the characters falling in love with the wrong people. It is made more complicated when fairies decide secretly to give some people a love potion to make them fall in love with new people.
At the beginning, Egeus wants his daughter Hermia to marry Demetrius, but Hermia does not want to because she loves a different man named Lysander. Meanwhile, Helena is in love with Demetrius. Hermia and Lysander decide to run away to the woods together, but Demetrius finds out and follows Hermia there, and Helena follows Demetrius. Soon all four of the lovers are lost in the woods.
While this is happening, Oberon and Titania are arguing. Titania has found a young boy whom she wants to use as a helper, and Oberon is angry because he wants the boy as his own servant. Because Oberon and Titania are magical, their fighting makes the weather stormy and misty, which is what makes the four human lovers get even more lost. With the help of Puck, Oberon's cheeky fairy helper, Oberon decides to teach Titania a lesson by finding a love potion and secretly giving it to her when she is asleep, so that when she wakes up she will fall in love with the first thing she sees. Oberon and Puck hope she might fall in love with a wild animal, which would be very embarrassing.
Oberon also sees the lovers arguing and feels sorry for Helena and Demetrius, so he tells Puck to give Demetrius the love potion too so that he will love Helena. But Puck makes a mistake and gives the potion to Lysander by accident, so when Lysander wakes up he loves Helena instead of Hermia like before. Hermia is sad about this and she has a big argument with Helena.
Meanwhile the workmen are practising their play in the woods, and Puck decides to play a trick on Nick Bottom by giving him donkey ears. The other actors are scared and run away, so Bottom decides to lie down and go to sleep. He is sleeping near Titania, who wakes up and falls in love with him immediately.
Oberon realises what has happened to the lovers, and he gives some of the love potion to Demetrius. Now Demetrius and Lysander both love Helena, who thinks they are playing a mean trick on her. Very sad and confused, all of the lovers fall asleep again. At last, Puck gives the right lovers the potion, and when they wake up, Lysander loves Hermia and Demetrius loves Helena. Everyone is happy.
The workmen perform the play at the wedding of Theseus and Hippolyta. It's very funny as they get a lot of it wrong and mix things up. Oberon has stopped Titania being in love with Bottom and they are happy with each other again. They use their magic to bless all of the lovers in the play.
List of characters [change]
Some of the characters in the play are people and some of them are fairies.
- Puck – A fairy who contains a bigger job than the others. He constantly serves and attends to Oberon's needs.
- Thistleweed - Puck's helper fairy and Oberon's servant.
- Oberon – King of the fairies and Titania's husband.
- Titania – Queen of the fairies, and Oberon's wife.
- Peaseblossom, Cobweb, Moth, and Mustardseed – Some more fairies, Titania's attendants (helpers).
- Theseus – The Duke of the city of Athens, where the play is set.
- Hippolyta – The Queen of the Amazons. She has promised to marry Theseus.
- Egeus – A friend of Theseus'.
- Philostrate – The man who is in charge of making sure the party to celebrate the wedding of Theseus and Hippolyta goes well.
- Hermia – Egeus' daughter. Egeus wants her to marry a man called Demetrius, but she does not want to because she is in love with Lysander.
- Lysander – A young man who is in love with Hermia.
- Demetrius – A young man who wants to marry Hermia.
- Helena – A young woman, Hermia's friend, who loves Demetrius.
There are also some workmen in the play who are planning to perform a play of their own, called Pyramus and Thisbe, to Theseus, Hippolyta, and the young lovers at the wedding of Theseus and Hippolyta.
- Nick Bottom – A very confident weaver who wants to play all of the characters. He plays Pyramus in the workmen's play.
- Peter Quince – A carpenter. He is in charge of the workmen's play, and says the prologue at the beginning of it.
- Francis Flute – A male bellows-mender with who has been chosen to play the female part of Thisbe in their play.
- Robin Starveling – A tailor who is to play the part of Thisbe's mother.
- Tom Snout – A tinker who at first was going to play Pyramus' father, but ends up playing a Wall. Pyramus and Thisbe whisper to each other through a chink in the Wall formed by Wall's fingers.
- Snug – A joiner who will play the lion.
Other websites [change]
|Wikisource has original writing related to this article:|
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to: A Midsummer Night's Dream|
- David Strathairn Online: A Midsummer Night's Dream
- MIT html version.
- First Folio Facsimile – HTML diplomatic transcription of 1623 text.
- Midsummer Night's Dream – plain vanilla text from Project Gutenberg.
- The Sources and Analogues of 'A Midsummer Night's Dream', 1908 publication compiled by Frank Sidgwick, from Project Gutenberg.
- Lesson plans for A Midsummer Night's Dream at Web English Teacher