A midsummer night’s Dream (Character List/ Character Analysis))

Puck 1. Also known as Robin Goodfellow2. Puck is Oberon’s jester, a mischievous fairy who delights in playing pranks on mortals3. Puck is the closest thing the play has to a protagonist4. His enchanting, mischievous spirit pervades the atmosphere, and his antics are responsible for many of the complications that propel the other main plots5. causes chaosEXAMPLES: Within the group of young lovers; he also transforms Bottom’s head into that of an ass.
Oberon 1. The king of the fairies2. Oberon is initially at odds with Titania because she refuses to relinquish control of a young Indian prince whom he wants for a knight3. Oberon’s desire for revenge on Titania leads him to send Puck to obtain the love-potion flower that creates so much of the play’s confusion and farce
Titania 1. The beautiful queen of the fairies2. Titania resists the attempts of Oberon to make a knight of the young Indian prince that she has been given3. Titania’s brief, potion-induced love for Nick Bottom, whose head Puck has transformed into that of an ass, yields the play’s foremost example of the contrast motif
Lysander 1. A young man of Athens who is in love with Hermia2. Lysander’s relationship with Hermia invokes the theme of love’s difficulty: he cannot marry her openly because Egeus, her father, wishes her to wed Demetrius; 3. When Lysander and Hermia run away into the forest, Lysander becomes the victim of misapplied magic and wakes up in love with Helena
Demetrius 1. A young man of Athens, initially in love with Hermia and ultimately in love with Helena2. Demetrius’s obstinate pursuit of Hermia throws love out of balance among the quartet of Athenian youths and precludes a symmetrical two-couple arrangement
Hermia 1. Egeus’s daughter, a young woman of Athens2. Hermia is in love with Lysander and is a childhood friend of Helena 3. As a result of the fairies’ mischief with Oberon’s love potion, both Lysander and Demetrius suddenly fall in love with Helena4. Self-conscious about her short stature, Hermia suspects that Helena has wooed the men with her height5. By morning, however, Puck has sorted matters out with the love potion, and Lysander’s love for Hermia is restored
Helena 1. Although Puck and Bottom stand out as the most personable characters in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, they themselves are not involved in the main dramatic events2. Of the other characters, Helena, the lovesick young woman desperately in love with Demetrius, is perhaps the most fully drawn3. Among the quartet of Athenian lovers, Helena is the one who thinks most about the nature of love—which makes sense, given that at the beginning of the play she is left out of the love triangle involving Lysander, Hermia, and Demetrius4. She says, “Love looks not with the eyes, but with the mind,” believing that Demetrius has built up a fantastic notion of Hermia’s beauty that prevents him from recognizing Helena’s own beauty (I.i.234)5. Utterly faithful to Demetrius despite her recognition of his shortcomings, Helena sets out to win his love by telling him about the plan of Lysander and Hermia to elope into the forest6. Once Helena enters the forest, many of her traits are drawn out by the confusion that the love potion engenders: compared to the other lovers, she is extremely unsure of herself, worrying about her appearance and believing that Lysander is mocking her when he declares his love for her
Egeus 1. Hermia’s father2. Brings a complaint against his daughter to Theseus3. Egeus has given Demetrius permission to marry Hermia, but Hermia, in love with Lysander, refuses to marry Demetrius4. Egeus’s severe insistence that Hermia either respect his wishes or be held accountable to Athenian law places him squarely outside the whimsical dream realm of the forest
Theseus 1. The heroic duke of Athens2. Engaged to Hippolyta3. Theseus represents power and order throughout the play4. He appears only at the beginning and end of the story, removed from the dreamlike events of the forest
Hippolyta 1. The legendary queen of the Amazons2. Engaged to Theseus3. Like Theseus, she symbolizes order.
Nick Bottom 1. Whereas Puck’s humor is often mischievous and subtle, the comedy surrounding the overconfident weaver Nick Bottom is hilariously overt2. The central figure in the subplot involving the craftsmen’s production of the Pyramus and Thisbe story3. Bottom dominates his fellow actors with an extraordinary belief in his own abilities (he thinks he is perfect for every part in the play) and his comical incompetence (he is a terrible actor and frequently makes rhetorical and grammatical mistakes in his speech)4. The humor surrounding Bottom often stems from the fact that he is totally unaware of his own ridiculousness5. His speeches are overdramatic and self-aggrandizing, and he seems to believe that everyone takes him as seriously as he does himself6. This foolish self-importance reaches its pinnacle after Puck transforms Bottom’s head into that of an ass7. When Titania, whose eyes have been anointed with a love potion, falls in love with the now ass-headed Bottom, he believes that the devotion of the beautiful, magical fairy queen is nothing out of the ordinary and that all of the trappings of her affection, including having servants attend him, are his proper due8. His unawareness of the fact that his head has been transformed into that of an ass parallels his inability to perceive the absurdity of the idea that Titania could fall in love with him
Peter Quince 1. A carpenter and the nominal leader of the craftsmen’s attempt to put on a play for Theseus’s marriage celebration2. Quince is often shoved aside by the abundantly confident Bottom3. During the craftsmen’s play, Quince plays the Prologue
Francis Flute 1. The bellows-mender chosen to play Thisbe in the craftsmen’s play for Theseus’s marriage celebration2. Forced to play a young girl in love, the bearded craftsman determines to speak his lines in a high, squeaky voice
Robin Starveling 1. The tailor chosen to play Thisbe’s mother in the craftsmen’s play for Theseus’s marriage celebration2. He ends up playing the part of Moonshine
Tom Snout 1. The tinker chosen to play Pyramus’s father in the craftsmen’s play for Theseus’s marriage celebration2. He ends up playing the part of Wall, dividing the two lovers
Snug 1. The joiner chosen to play the lion in the craftsmen’s play for Theseus’s marriage celebration2. Snug worries that his roaring will frighten the ladies in the audience
Philostrate 1. Theseus’s Master of the Revels2. Responsible for organizing the entertainment for the duke’s marriage celebration.
Peaseblossom, Cobweb, Mote, and Mustardseed 1. The fairies ordered by Titania to attend to Bottom after she falls in love with him