A Midsummer Night’s Dream Quotations

“The course of true love never did run smooth.” Lysander on true love
“Swift as a shadow, short as any dream; Brief as the lightning in the collied night.” Lysander describes love’s fragility
“Lord, what fools these mortals be!” Puck on you
“Love looks not with the eyes, but with the mind,And therefore is winged Cupid painted blind.” Helena on love’s blindness
“And yet, to say the truth, reason and love keep little company together nowadays.” Bottom on reason and love
“The lunatic, the lover, and the poet,Are of imagination all compact.” Theseus on love’s lunacy
“I am your spaniel; and Demetrius,The more you beat me, I will fawn on you.Use me but as your spaniel, spurn me, strike me,Neglect me, lose me; only give me your leave,Unworthy as I am, to follow you.” -Act 2, Scene 2 Helena- following Demetrius into the forest and telling him how much she loves him.
“Help me, Lysander, help me, do thy bestTo pluck this crawling serpent from my breast.Ay me, for pity! What a dream was here!Lysander, look how I do quake with fear.Methought a serpent eat my heart away,And you sat smiling at his cruel prey.Lysander! What, remov’d? Lysander! Lord!What, out of hearing gone? No sound, no word?Alack, where are you? Speak, an if you hear;Speak, of all loves! I swoon almost with fear.No? Then I well perceive you are not nigh.Either death or you I’ll find immediately.” -Act 2, Scene 2 Hermia, waking up from a nightmare that a serpent was eating her heart and Lysander was laughing at her getting eaten.
“Having once this juice, I’ll watch Titania when she is asleep,And drop the liquor of it in her eyes;The next thing then she waking looks upon,Be it on lion, bear, or wolf, or bull,On meddling monkey or on busy ape,She shall pursue it with the soul of love.And ere I take this charm from off her sight,As I can take it with another herb,I’ll make her render up her page to me.But who comes here? I am invisible;And I will overhear their conference.” -Act 2, Scene 1 Oberon, talking about spraying the flower’s juice in Titania’s eyes to make her fall in love with the first thing she sees.
“If we shadows have offended,Think but this, and all is mended,That you have but slumb’red hereWhile these visions did appear.And this weak and idle theme,No more yielding but a dream,Gentles, do not reprehend. If you pardon, we will mend.” -Act 5, Scene 2 Puck speaks these lines in an address to the audience near the end of A Midsummer Night’s Dream, extending the theme of dreams beyond the world of the play and putting the reality of the audience’s experience into question (V.epilogue.1-8). As many of the characters (Bottom and Theseus among them) believe that the magical events of the play’s action were merely a dream, Puck tells the crowd that if the play has offended them, they too should remember it simply as a dream—”That you have but slumbered here, / While these visions did appear.” The speech offers a commentary on the dreamlike atmosphere of A Midsummer Night’s Dream and casts the play as a magical dream in which the audience shares.