A Midsummer Night’s Dream

Why does Theseus select Quince’s play? all the other plays are sad or he has seen many times before
What is the attitude of the Athenians as they watch the play? The Athenians take up Theseus’ idea of laughing at the tradesmen, who they know cannot act. They take up a ridiculing frame of mind.
When Theseus says it is almost fairy time, what time is it? Midnight, the hour when it was believed that the fairies would come out , and if it was someone important’s wedding day, bless them and their family.
What blessings does Oberon bestow on the couples? -fertility-freedom from blemishes (both physically and character-wise)-normal and well-behaved children-peace-happiness
Why is Bottom worried about the ladies in the audience? Bottom thinks that the women will be scared by the deaths of Pyramus and Thisbe and of the lion.
What solution does Bottom offer to his problem? He will write a prologue and reveal that he is actually Bottom and that no-one will be hurt.
What problem worries Snout? Snout is worried that the ladies in the audience will be scared of the lion because they will think it is real.
What solution does Bottom propose for Snout’s problem? He will reveal half of Snug’s face from behind the lion’s mask and tell everyone it’s not a real lion.
Why does Bottom propose looking in an almanac? Bottom wants to know if the moon will be shining on he night of the play, as Pyramus and Thisbe meet by moonlight.
Why does Quince decide to have Starveling carry a thorn bush? Quince, like the rest of the tradesmen, wants someone to personify moonlight in case they do not have the real moon for Pyramus and Thisbe to meet under. Starveling will shine a lantern through the thorn bush. In Bottom’s mind, this constitutes another prologue.
What, in Bottom’s opinion, will make the “wall” more realistic? Bottom a wants the actor playing the wall to be covered in plaster and to hold his fingers in a v so that Pyramus and Thisbe will be able to talk through his fingers as they would have talked through a crack in the wall.
How does Puck play tricks on the actors in the wood? Puck decides to watch the play, but soon gets bored and decides to turn Bottom’s head into a donkey head because he is doing such a bad job of playing Pyramus.
How does Bottom react when he finds he has the head of a donkey? Bottom does not believe the other tradesmen when they tell him that he has been transformed, so he sings to show how unafraid he is. This wakes Titania, who confirms his fears that his head is that of a donkey.
How does Titania react upon seeing Bottom? As Titania had the nectar from the pansy on her eyes, she fell instantly in love with Bottom, donkey head and all.
What does Titania order her fairies to do? Titania wants the fairies to care for Bottom, pamper him, feed him, and keep him in her chamber so that she can moon over him. She eventually also orders them to make him shut up when he talks extensively.
How is Quince’s problem with the lighting of his play similar to Shakespeare’s problem of lighting for A Midsummer Night’s Dream? Both plays were held during daylight hours, meaning that there was no moonlight for the lovers to flee by. However, whereas Quince wanted moonlight at all parts of the play, Shakespeare would have wanted some semi-darkness to represent the filtered light of the forest.
How does Oberon learn Titania is in love with Bottom and what are his feelings on it? Oberon is very pleased with Puck for making Titania fall in love with such an ugly creature. He learns this information when he asks Puck about it.
How does Oberon realize Puck has made a mistake and bewitched the wrong Athenian youth? Oberon sees Demetrius and Hermia arguing, and Puck reveals that this is the same woman he saw, but he has never see Demetrius before. He scolds Puck for this and sends him to set things right.
What does Hermia think happened to Lysander? Hermia has no knowledge of the magic flower, and so sees no reason in which Lysander would leave her except for if he was dead, and the only person who would hate Lysander enough to kill him would be Demetrius. Thus, she believes that Demetrius killed Lysander.
Why does Hermia think Demetrius killed Lysander? The only person who hates Lysander is Demetrius, as they are rivals in her love.
On whom does Oberon press his magic nectar now? (Act 3) Oberon attempts to achieve his original aim in putting the nectar on Demetrius’ eyes.
How does Helena react when Demetrius say he loves her? Helena already thought that Lysander was mocking her, so she believes that Demetrius’ words are just another part of the same cruel joke.
Why do Helena and Hermia argue? Helena thinks that Hermia is the planner of Lysander and Demetrius’ supposed scorn, whereas Hermia is in frantic denial of the sudden change in Lysander’s affection and calls Helena a thief.
Who challenges who to a duel? Lysander challenges Demetrius to a duel for Helena’s love in saying: “If thou say [you love her more], withdraw, and prove it”.
What does Oberon order Puck to do to set things right on Earth? Oberon sends Puck to use his powers to lure Lysander away from Demetrius and Hermia away from Helena. They will then each give up for the day and go to sleep, at which time Puck will cure Lysander and they will all meet again, thinking that it was all a dream.
How does Oberon plan to set things right in the fairy world? Oberon will go to the love-struck Titania and ask for the boy, as she will be so caught up in Bottom that she will not care either way. Then he will cure her and they will live happily ever after.
By what other names is Puck known? Hobgoblin, Robin, Robin Goodfellow, Sweet Puck
What does the fairy tell Puck in the beginning of scene one? That she serves the fairy queen and that Titania and Oberon are fighting.
What warning does Puck give the fairy? He tells the fairy to make sure that Titania does not meet Oberon, because they are constantly fighting.
Why is Oberon angry with Titania? She is keeping a changeling child for her own train when Oberon wants the boy for his own train.
What sorts of tricks does Puck play on humans? -Turning into a stool and then, when an elderly woman comes to sit down, disappearing so that she falls onto the floor.-Frightens young girls-Skim the milk so that it will not produce butter no matter how hard it is churned-Making drinks lose their qualities-Mislead travelers at nights so that they get lost-Pretend to be an apple in a drink and then spill it all over the person’s neck
Why is Titania jealous of Hippolyta? Oberon, Titania’s husband, was, at one point, in love with Hippolyta.
Of whom is Oberon jealous? Theseus, whom Titania was once in love with.
Who do Titania and Oberon blame for recent storms and floods? Titania blames Oberon, whilst Oberon blames Titania. It is really their fighting that causes problems, but each believes that they are defending the right side and it is the foolish attempts of the other to prove otherwise that prolongs the quarrel.
According to Oberon, how did the pansy become magical? Oberon tells Robin that the flower was shot by one of Cupid’s stray arrows.
Why does Oberon tell Puck to fetch the flower? Oberon plans to make Titania madly in love with something very ugly for two reasons:a) She will be so busy chasing the creature that she will not notice him taking the changeling boyb) After she is returned to normal, he can laugh at her for being in love with something random and ugly
Who races after Demetrius in the woods? Helena, his past love.
How does Demetrius try to stop Helena? Attempt one: insults Attempt two: threats of his uncontrollable attacks on her modestyAttempt three: telling her that he will hurt her if she keeps chasing him
What is Oberon’s reactions when he sees the pursuit? Oberon takes pity on Helena and decides to help her win Demetrius’ love.
Oberon tells Puck to dab whom on the eyelids with the magic nectar? Demetrius, but only when the first thing he will see is Helena.
Why does Oberon give Puck these orders? This is Oberon’s method of helping Helena with her chase of Demetrius. If he is annointed with the nectar, he will dote on Helena even more than she already dotes on him.
What does Oberon intend to do with the rest of the nectar? Oberon plans to personally put the nectar on Titania’s eyelids so that his plan for her loving a random creature will be put into action.
What jobs does Titania send her fairies off to do? -Sing her a lullaby-kill cankers on the muskrose buds-fight bats for their wings-make coats for the elves-make the owl stop hooting so loudly
Why do the fairies sing charms for Titania? She wants them to send her to sleep soundly. The charms are also a protective enchantment against most harms.
Why does Oberon pronounce a spell over Titania? He must break the protective enchantments surrounding Titania for the flower to work to its fullest extent. He must also ensure that she only wakes up when something vile and ugly is the first thing she will see.
Why does Lysander move away from Hermia before they sleep? This action is on request of Hermia, because Lysander implicated a desire to lie together. He was trying his luck, but Hermia recognized this and decided to hold off until they actually married.
On whose eyelids does Puck press the magic nectar? Puck mistakenly puts the nectar on Lysander’s eyes instead of Demetrius’.
What happens when Helena wakens Lysander? Lysander, having been put under the spell of the flower, falls in love with Helena the moment he sets eyes on her, forgetting all previous ties to Hermia.
What does Helena think of Lysander’s flattery? Helena takes the numerous compliments as mockery, as her self-esteem is so low. She is also quite confused, as she has recently seen Lysander making quite similar comments toward Hermia.
What has Hermia been dreaming about? She dreamt that a snake was eating her heart (probably symbolic of her losing her ability to love), and Lysander was watching and smiling (symbolic of him losing his love for her). She was extremely scared when waking from this nightmare, revealing that she most likely fears nothing more than the event in which she and Lysander break up.
Why does Hermia run off at the end of the scene? She is off to find Lysander, who has actually gone chasing Helena.
Why do you think Shakespeare has Hermia say to Lysander, before they fall asleep, that she wishes “the wisher’s eyes to be pressed”? This was an element of foreshadowing leading into the part of the act in which many eyes are pressed with nectar.
What is ironic about that line? Hermia did not mean that she wanted eyes to be charmed into loving others, but rather, she was wishing a deep sleep. In a deep sleep, one will have heavy eyelids, perhaps feeling as though they are being pressed gently upon. This is dramatic irony in that the audience will soon know the significance of eyes being pressed, however, Hermia remains blind to the double meaning of her words.
How were fairies different in Shakespeare’s time? Fairies used to be men and women who ruled the natural world. However, they have become female, winged people in modern culture. Whereas Shakespeare’s fairies were mischeivous and always the cause of trouble, now they are representative of kindness or flowers etc.
What powers did fairies have in Shakespeare’s time? Fairies used to be able to shapeshift into any object or size they wanted and had significant power over the workings of the natural world. Now, fairies cast spells using fairy dust and usually cannot change form.
What did the woods symbolize at the time? The woods were mysterious, unexplored wilderness to the people of Shakespeare’s time. They were dark, scary, and ominous.
Who were Titania and Oberon? Titania was the queen of the fairies and Oberon was the king of the fairies. Together, they ruled over the natural world and when they fought, natural disasters would happen.
What was a votress? A votress was a servant of the queen who was hand picked for the duty. They were most often sworn into the duty and made up the queen’s train.
What was a changeling child? A changeling child was a mortal child who had been stolen by the fairies and made immortal by them. Peasants often believed that if they had a very imperfect child, that meant they had had a perfect one, but the fairies replaced it.
What/Who was the Hobgoblin/Robin Goodfellow/Puck? He was Oberon’s main servant and advisor. His goal was to make Oberon laugh by making trouble for the mortals and to obey Oberon’s every command.
Who is Theseus? The Duke of Athens, who is called on by Egeus to enforce the law of Athens on his daughter.
Why is Theseus anxious for the rising of the new moon? Theseus is engaged to the former Amazon queen, Hippolyta, and will marry her on the rising of the new moon. He is madly in love, so he is very excited. He also chooses this date as the deadline for Hermia’s descision about her marriage.
What does Theseus tell Philostrate to do? Philostrate is charged with the duty of making all of the villiagers of Athens excited about Thesus’ marriage. He is also sent to find entertainment.1
Why is Egeus angry? His daughter, Hermia, is determined to marry Lysander, whereas he wants her to marry Demetrius. He feels that if she gets he own way, his reputation will fall into shambles.
Why has Egeus come to see Theseus? Egeus wants Theseus to enforce the law on his daughter (she would have to obey him) so that his reputation and pride would remain intact.
Whom does Hermia love? Lysander, but she is supposed to love Demetrius.
What alternatives does Theseus offer Hermia? Hermia is offered three choices:1. Marry Demetrius2. Become a nun3. Be executed
In what tone do you imagine Theseus presenting Hermia’s alternatives? (personal opinion) Theseus’ tone is slightly pitying, and very calm. He is trying to be a peacemaker between her and her father.
How does Hermia change during her time alone with Lysander? Wheras Hermia is bold and defiant when faced by Egeus and Theseus, she shows a more domestic side in her time alone with Lysander. This is when she takes up the more feminine role expected by women of her time.
Where do Lysander and Hemia agree to meet? In the woods outside the city.
Why do Lysander and Hermia agree to meet there? The wood is far from prying eyes and will conceal them as they run away.
What is the relationship between Hermia and Helena? This, sadly is a friendship turned sour. Helena and Hermia used to be the best of friends, but when Demetrius decided to marry Hermia, Helena went slightly mad, Hermia trys to comfort her while she dotes on how Hermia is perfect and she is not.
How does Helena betray the secret Hermia tells her? Helena, in an attempt to get Demetrius to notice her, tells him of Hermia and Lysander’s plan to run away into the woods.
Why does Helena give away Hermia’s secret? Helena is so desperate for Demetrius that she is willing to ruin her best friend’s plans just to get him to talk to her.
Why do you suppose Egeus prefers Demetrius to Lysander? (personal opinion) Demetrius is probably a business partner or son of a business partner to Egeus. Demetrius ultimately has a more professional air about him, whereas Lysander is more openly affectionate.
Who are literary foils in Act 1? The two main foils are Hermia and Helena. Whereas Hermia is bold, composed, and independent, Helena is slightly mad, unsure of herself, and dependent on the opinions of others to dictate her life.
What is the purpose of the meeting at Peter Quince’s house? Philostrate was sent out by Theseus to find entertainment for the wedding, and the villagers rose to the task. They have decided to put on the play, Pyramus and Thisbe and at Peter’s house, distribute parts.
Who is Nick Bottom? Nick Bottom is a comical villager with a very high opinion of himself. He is a bit control hungry and tries to play every part in the play by himself.
Why is the plot of Pyramus and Thisbe inappropriate for a comedy? In Shakesperian times, the main way to distinguish between a comedy and a tragedy was to look at the ending. If it was happy, the play was a comedy, if lots of the characters died at the end, it was a tragedy. Since both Pyramus and Thisbe die at the end of their play, it is not a comedy.
How are the characters Pyramus and Thisbe like Hermia and Lysander? Both pairs are lovers that should not be together. Their parents are both very disapproving of their relationships. They both have plans for the woman to escape, alone into the woods, where they will later be met by their lovers.
What part will Bottom play? Bottom is supposed to play the part of Pyramus, although he is keen to play every part.
How do the names of the tradesmen fit their occupations? Nick Bottom – a weaver, however this name refers more to his job of thinking himself better than everyone else.Peter Quince – a carpenter. His name is derived from “quines” or “quoins”, which are wooden wedges used by carpenters.Francis Flute – the bellows-mender. A bellows-mender repairs the bellows used to increase the flow of air to a fire. Just as he is making air flow to fires, his name refers to an instrument (flute) in which air flows through to make sound.Tom Snout – a tinker. In this job, he would have to fix water spouts, which are one letter away from snouts.Snug – a joiner. He would have to join things together so that they fit snugly.Robin Starveling – a tailor. His name refers to the tendency of tailors to be skinny, hence, starved-looking.
What part will Snug play? Snug is cast as the lion.
What is funny about Snug’s asking whether his lines will be written out? A lion cannot talk, and thus would not have any lines to memorize.
When and where do the tradesmen plan to rehearse? In the palace wood, a mile away from the town, because they do not want to attract attention or have people see their play beforehand. They are to meet the next day, at night.
What do the others seem to think about Bottom? They think that he is an amazing actor, but, Peter Quince especially, get a bit frustrated at his attempts to control everyone’s roles.
How does Bottom feel about himself? Bottom also thinks that he is amazing, and does not attempt to hide this opinion. He is quite self centered and thinks that he can do everything.