A Midsummer Night's Dream

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Page from the First Folio of 1623

A Midsummer Night's Dream is a play by William Shakespeare. The exact date the play was written is unknown. It is generally accepted that the play was written in 1595 or 1596. It was first printed in 1600. In 1623, the play was printed in the First Folio, a collection of all of Shakespeare's plays.[1]

Shakespeare's sources include works by Plutarch, Apuleius, Ovid, Geoffrey Chaucer, and Edmund Spenser. He found a description of Puck in Reginald Scot's The Discoverie of Witchcraft (1584). It is generally believed that the play was written for the festivities surrounding the aristocratic marriage of either Elizabeth Vere, Lord Burghley’s granddaughter, in 1595, or Elizabeth Carey, daughter of Sir George Carey, in 1596.[1]

The play is about four confused young lovers, a group of clumsy workmen, the royal court of Duke Theseus, and the royal fairy court of King Oberon and Queen Titania. The play is set mostly at night in the woods near Athens.

The play has been made into movies on numerous occasions. One movie stars Mickey Rooney as the fairy Puck. Benjamin Britten wrote an opera based on the play, George Balanchine and Frederick Ashton have both made ballets about it, and Felix Mendelssohn wrote many pieces of music for the play which include an "Overture" and a "Wedding March".

Characters[change | change source]

The Court at Athens:

  • Theseus, Duke of Athens and the betrothed of Hippolyta
  • Hippolyta, Queen of the Amazons and the betrothed of Theseus
  • Philostrate, Master of the Revels at the Court
  • Egeus, father of Hermia

The Lovers:

  • Hermia, beloved of Lysander and daughter to Egeus
  • Lysander, beloved of Hermia
  • Helena, in love with Demetrius
  • Demetrius

The Fairies:

  • Oberon, King of the Fairies
  • Titania, Queen of the Fairies
  • Puck, Oberon's servant
  • Peaseblossom, a fairy serving Titania
  • Moth, a fairy serving Titania
  • Cobweb, a fairy serving Titania
  • Mustardseed, a fairy serving Titania

The Rustics:

  • Nick Bottom, a weaver
  • Peter Quince, a carpenter
  • Robin Starveling, a tailor
  • Francis Flute, a bellows mender
  • Snug, a joiner
  • Tom Snout, a tinker

Story[change | change source]

A play happens. The end

References[change | change source]

Other websites[change | change source]