A Midsummer Night’s Dream

types of meter 1. nobility- unrhymed iambic pentameter (every second syllable stressed, 10 per line) ex. da-DUM x5 per line2. Athenian lovers- rhymed iambic pentameter3. fairies- rhymed catalectic trochaic tetrameter (first syllable stressed, 7 per line, last unstressed syllable cut off) ex. DUM-da, DUM-da, DUM-da, DUM4. craftsmen- prose (normal talking, no rhyme)
Puck (Robin Goodfellow) -Oberon’s jester/fairy-mischievous, likes to play pranks on mortals-closest to protagonist-propels plot: confuses Lysander with Demetrius and misplaces love potion, places ass head on Bottom-graceful, but not as sweet as other fairies (ex. places ass head for pure enjoyment/humor) Goodhearted, but capable of cruel tricks-referred to as “hobgoblin”; not as beautiful as other fairies-“Lord, what fools these mortals be!” at Athenian lovers
Theseus -Duke of Athens-betrothed to Hippolyta -proposes Hermia has until the new moon (night of his wedding) to choose between marrying Demetrius, being killed, or becoming a nun-symbolizes order
Titania -Queen of the fairies-married to Oberon-resists Oberon’s attempts to make a knight of the Indian prince she is given-Puck uses the love potion and she falls for Nick Bottom while he wears an ass head (theme-contrast)
Lysander -Athenian lover, in love with Hermia-cannot marry Hermia openly because Egeus wants her to marry Demetrius (theme- love’s difficulty)-proposes they escape Athens and get married in his Aunt’s house-run away to forest with Hermia, wakes up in love with Helena because of misapplied love potion
Demetrius -Athenian lover, initially in love with Hermia-once engaged to Helena-Egeus favors him over Lysander and wants Hermia to marry him-ultimately in love with Helena after love potion
Hermia -Athenian lover, in love with Lysander-Egeus’s daughter-wakes in forest and discovers Lysander and Demetrius are in love with Helena, childhood friend-assumes it is because of her height, becomes self-conscious-Puck restores Lysander’s love
Helena -Athenian lover, in love with Demetrius-once engaged to Demetrius and still loves him after he left her for Hermia-Demetrius is uninterested and rejects her several attempts to woo him-hopes telling Demetrius of Lysander and Hermia’s secret wedding will make him love her instead-insecure, desperate for his love-when Lysander and Demetrius fall for her, she assumes it is a cruel joke and refuses to believe it-thinks the most about nature of love (“Love looks not with the eyes, but with the mind”) and believes love has the power to transform ugly qualities to beautiful ones. Love doesn’t depend on appearance but on the individual perception of the one in love
Egeus -Hermia’s father-brings complaint about daughter to Theseus-insists she must either obey him and marry Demetrius or disobey him and be killed-symbolizes order (away from dreamlike forest)
Hippolyta -betrothed to Theseus after he defeated her Amazonian people-Queen of Amazons-symbolizes order
Nick Bottom -overconfident weaver-plays Pyramus in play-hypocritical: self-confident and full of acting advice but frequently misuses language and silly mistakes-thinks he can play any part perfectly-humorous (constant mistakes, unaware of own ridiculousness, assumes everyone takes him seriously)-arrogant: unaware of ass head and assumes it is perfectly ordinary for someone as beautiful as Titania to fall in love with him
Peter Quince -carpenter-nominal leader of craftmen’s play-plays Prologue -overshadowed by Bottom
Francis Flute -bellows-mender-plays Thisby, a young girl -uses squeaky, high-pitched voice (theme- contrast)
Robin Starveling -tailor-initially chosen for Thisby’s mother, but plays Moonshine
Tom Snout -tinker-plays Wall, dividing Pyramus and Thisby
Snug -joiner-plays Lion, worries that his roaring will frighten the ladies in the audience
Philostrate -Theseus’s Master of Revels-organizes entertainment for wedding celebration
Peaseblossom, Cobweb, Moth, Mustardseed -Titania’s fairies-ordered to be Bottom’s servants after she falls in love with them
Act 1, scene 1 -Theseus and Hippolyta planning for wedding celebration with help of Philostrate-Egeus comes into palace with Hermia, Demetrius, and Lysander telling him of his problem: Hermia will not marry Demetrius. She has until new moon to decide between marrying him, being killed, or becoming a nun-Lysander explains he is a better choice: same wealth, rank, has Hermia’s love, and Demetrius is fickle with love (engaged to Helena then left her for Hermia)-Lysander and Hermia left alone: “The course of love never did run smooth” -Lysander-proposes plan to escape Athens, travel to and get married in Aunt’s house away from Athenian law-Hermia confides in Helena with plan: lovesick, she tells Demetrius about the plan in hopes of having him run after and stop them while she follows him and tries to woo him
Act 1, scene 2 -Peter Quince’s house-craftsmen all meet to rehearse “The Most Lamentable Comedy and Most Cruel Death of Pyramus and Thisby” after Theseus and Hippolyta’s wedding -Bottom keeps interrupting Quince even though he tries to conduct the meeting-play: Pyramus and Thisby separated by parents’ feud and talk through a hole in the wall at night. Lion surprises Thisby and she leaves her torn clothing after she escapes. Pyramus finds this and kills himself, Thisby finds him and kills herself-Bottom thinks he can play all the parts perfectly, but Quince insists on assigning him Pyramus-all agree to meet in woods and rehearse
Act 2 scene 1 -Puck and a fairy meet in the woods-Puck tells fairy to keep Titania away from Oberon: he is angry because she is using the beautiful Indian boy as her attendant and refuses to let Oberon turn him into a knight-fairy delighted to realize it is Puck, the mischievous fairy and he describes his pranks-Titania and Oberon arrive: she discusses the problems with nature/low crops (caused by their fighting). She questions why he is so close to Athens and accuses him of loving Hippolyta and wanting to bless the marriage, Oberon accuses her of loving Theseus-Titania explains the Indian boy’s mother died and in her memory she is going to keep him close to her, refusing to let Oberon turn him into a knight-Oberon declines her invitation to dance and see her revels, saying they will be at odds until she gives him the boy-Titania leaves, Oberon says he will avenge her: sends Puck to find white & purple flower (love-in-idleness), struck by Cupid’s bow, that has a juice that causes a sleeper to awake in love with the first person they see-says he will use it to make her fall in love with a ridiculous creature and not lift the spell until she gives over the boy
Act 2 scene 2 -Oberon invisible, Demetrius and Helena in forest-Demetrius insults Helena and rejects her advances, does not love her, want to see her, and wishes she would stop following him (Helena still repeats her loyalty and love for him despite any mistreatment)-curses Lysander and Hermia, hoping to stop marriage and kill Lysander-Oberon wants to balance love and have Demetrius fall in love with Helena-Puck appears: Oberon takes juice to where Titania is sleeping, orders Puck to search for Athenian youth based on his garb and put juice on his eyes to fall in love with lady pursuing him-Oberon finds Titania asleep, puts juice on eyes and leaves-Hermia and Lysander appear: he says he forgets way to Aunt’s house and they should sleep and find way in the morning. Hermia insists on sleeping apart-Puck cannot find youth until he sees the two lovers apart: calls Lysander a churl and puts juice on eyes-Helena and Demetrius appear: Helena continues to pursue him, he insults her, she is afraid of dark but he leaves. She stays behind and complains of her unrequited love. She sees Lysander and wakes him, he falls in love with her and claims Hermia means nothing to him. She thinks he’s mocking her and she leaves angrily with Lysander running after her-Hermia wakes from a dream where a snake ate her heart and is scared it is true when she sees Lysander is gone. She runs to search for him
Act 3 scene 1 -craftsmen in woods rehearsing-Bottom says elements must be changed: must write prologue explaining that Bottom is not really Pyramus and not harmed, sword is fake, lion is not real. -two men must play moon (carry bush and lantern) and wall, as the play is supposed to be preformed at night-Puck witnesses them preform and calls them “hempen homespuns”-Bottom steps aside and Puck transforms his head into an ass’s for pure amusement-Bottom returns and other men run away frightened with Puck chasing after them in delight-Titania awakes and sees Bottom and falls in love, embracing him and appoints her fairies to see to his every wish (“Tie up my love’s tongue, bring him silently”)-Bottom figures her love for him is ordinary and is unaware of his ass head-comments on his friends who acted like asses for leaving, introduces himself to fairies, and follows Titania to forest bower
Act 3 scene 2 & 3 -Puck tells Oberon about Titania and Bottom and is delighted-Demetrius and Hermia arrive, and Oberon and Puck realize the mistake: Puck put potion on Lysander instead of Demetrius so they must remedy it-Hermia presses Demetrius for Lysander’s whereabouts and worries he’s dead-Demetrius does not know where he is but is upset that she would rather be with Lysander than him. This makes her angrier and she storms off while Demetrius falls asleep -Oberon puts juice in Demetrius’s eyes and sends Puck to find Helena: Helena close behind with Lysander declaring his love. She still refuses to believe and is hurt at his mocking-Demetrius wakes up to the noise and falls in love. Lysander says Demetrius doesn’t really love her, while he says Lysander is really in love with Hermia. Helena still believes they are mocking her -Hermia enters and realizes Lysander and Demetrius are in love with Helena-Helena thinks Hermia is in on the joke and yells at her for taking their friendship so lightly-Demetrius and Lysander lunge at each other and ready to risk lives for Helena’s love-Hermia holds Lysander back and angers him, questioning if he needs to hurt her to say he doesn’t love her (“I will shake thee from me like a serpent”)-Hermia thinks Helena intentionally wooed Lysander with her height and threatens to scratch out her eyes-Helena is scared b/c Hermia always quick to fight, but Demetrius and Lysander protect her from Hermia before storming off and fighting in forest-Helena runs away and Hermia renounces her amazement at the turn of events-Oberon sends Puck to keep Lysander and Demetrius from fighting, saying they must fix it before the morning -Puck flies through the forest and confuses the two by yelling insults at them from each other’s voices, making them lost and tiring them outScene 3-all four lovers wander back and fall asleep -Puck puts juice in Lysander’s eyes to make him fall in love with Hermia again
Act 4 Scene 1 -Titania, Bottom, and fairies enter: Titania tells Bottom to lie in her lap while she puts roses in his hair and kiss his “fair large ears” while he orders fairies around-he falls asleep in her lap while she says “O how I love thee, how I dote on thee”-Puck and Oberon enter: comment on Oberon’s success w/revenge-Oberon says he saw Titania earlier and taunted her of her love for an ass head, promising to undo spell if she gave him the Indian boy to which she agreed-Oberon undoes spell with a charm. Titania wakes up and amazed to be sleeping with ass head Bottom. She goes with Oberon to dance until they hear the morning lark-Puck undoes Bottom’s ass head with charm and leaves-morning: Theseus, Hippolyta, Egeus enter as Theseus’s hounds bark. They find all four lovers asleep in forest, it is the day of the wedding. Waking them, they ask what they were doing. They barely remember and think the past nights were dreams-clear that Demetrius loves Helena and Lysander loves Hermia: Theseus orders they be wed eternally while they go to his temple to feast-Bottom wakes up: says he has a dream that he wants Quince to write a ballad for so he can preform it at the end of the play
Act 4 Scene 2 -Quince’s house, craftsmen worry about Bottom-Starveling thinks fairies cast a spell on him-Flute wonders if they will preform without Bottom: Quince says they couldn’t because Bottom is the only Athenian capable of playing Pyramus (all think he is the wittiest and most intelligent in Athens)-Snug enters saying Theseus and the two young couples have been married, ready to see the play-Flute says Bottom would probably have gotten a lot of money from Theseus for playing Pyramus-Bottom enters and wonders why everyone is sad. Craftsmen overjoyed, Bottom declares he has amazing dream to tell but there is no time (must put on costumes and preform). Tells everyone not to eat onions or garlic as they must “utter sweet breath”
Act 5 scene 1 -Theseus and Hippolyta talk about lovers’ story and the mix-ups of the previous night. Theseus doesn’t believe it (darkness and love excite the imagination). Hippolyta says it would be strange if it weren’t true because of how well they told the story-lovers enter, Theseus says they should pass the time with seeing a play. Philostrate reads a list of plays, all unacceptable, until he tells him of the craftsmen’s play. He says it will be terrible and he shouldn’t see it, but Theseus insists it will be entertaining no matter how bad the performance-all take their seats. Quince presents prologue with weird pauses. Others enter and act clumsily while the nobles mock them and their weird speech.-Bottom has many mistakes (ex. “I see a voice…I can hear my Thisby’s face”)-Pyramus and Thisby speak through the Wall’s fingers (a hole). The lion (Snug) enters and explains he’s not a real lion. The play ends clumsily and Bottom pretends to kill himself by saying “die, die, die, die, die”.-asks Theseus if he wants an epilogue or a bergamask dance: Bottom and Flute perform dance, then everyone goes to bed
Act 5 Scene 2 -Puck enters and explains the fairies will come to the castle now that night has fallen-explains he has been “sent with broom before/To sweep the dust behind the door”)-Oberon and Titania enter, bless the palace and its occupants with a fairy song (ensuring lovers will be faithful, their children will be beautiful, and no harm will visit Theseus or Hippolyta) -Oberon and Titania leave, Puck addresses audience: says if the play was offensive, the audience should remember it as a simple a dream and wishes them goodnight
Themes 1. Love’s difficulty-not truly a love story-distances audience from emotions of characters to make fun of torments of those in love-love out of balance- asymmetrical love among four lovers. Hermia with too many lovers, Helena with none. -imbalance between Titania and Oberon: Titania’s love for Indian boy more than love for Oberon-imbalance between Titania and Bottom: Titania beautiful and graceful, Bottom clumsy and ridiculous2. Magic -fairies’ magic central to atmosphere/plot that is surreal-supernatural power of love symbolized by love potion-magic creates problems but ultimately solves them-Puck’s graceful ease with magic contrasts with clumsiness of craftsmen’s play 3. Dreams-linked to magical mishaps in forest-ex. Hippolyta foreshadows in beginning “Four days will quickly steep themselves in night, Four nights will quickly dream away the time”-occurs when characters try to explain bizarre events-ex. Bottom says “I have had a dream, past the wit of man to say what/dream it was. Man is but an ass if he go about t’expound this dream”-time loses normal flow in dreams, events occur without explanation, the impossible occurs shown through fairy intervention-extended when Puck addresses audience at end and makes the play more fantastical than dramatic4. Betrayal-Hermia betrays her father’s wishes by sneaking off to forest with Lysander-Oberon betrays Titania and seeks revenge by making her fall in love with ass head and tricking her into giving him the Indian boy-Lysander betrays Hermia by falling in love with Helena-Helena assumes Hermia is betraying their friendship by participating in the cruel joke-Demetrius betrays Helena prior to play by falling in love with Hermia5. Parent & Child-Egeus and Hermia: betrayal-Titania and Indian boy-Pyramus and Thisby: disapproval-Oberon and Puck (?)6. Play-within-a-play-adds comedic element to melodramatic Athenian lovers-Pyramus and Thisby face parental disapproval just as Hermia and Lysander do-theme of romantic confusion enhanced by darkness: Pyramus believes Thisby is killed just as Athenian lovers experience mix-ups in the darkness/magic of forest7. Contrast-Hermia short, Helena tall-Puck plays pranks, Bottom is victim of pranks-Titania is beautiful, Bottom grotesque-fairies graceful and magical, craftsmen are clumsy and mortal-craftsmen merry, lovers serious-Puck graceful but not as sweet as other fairies as he is mischievous