Midsummer Night’s Dream Summaries

Act 1, Scene 1 Theseus is about to marry Hippolyta at the full moon in four days and he is thinking time can’t pass fast enough. Egeus, Hermia, Lysander and Demetrius enter. Egeus complains that his daughter won’t marry Demetrius. Theseus tells her, she can either marry him (she would rather die), be a nun (she is in the flame of passion though), or die (she is her father’s property, a wax statue he can manipulate at will). She says she would rather die and then Lysander says he is more deserving of Hermia because Demetrius was dating Helena (Hermia’s best friend) before this and Helena is smitten with him. Lysander also says he is better in every way. Hermia and Lysander confess their love alone to each other and Lysander proposes they run away to his aunt and get married. Helena is jealous that Hermia is who Demetrius now loves and says it in bitter words. Hermia tells her that her and Lysander plan to run away. Helana plans to tell Demetrius and get back in his good graces.
Act 1, Scene 2 Quince, Snug, Bottom, Flute, Snout and Starveling (all of them should actually be called Dumling in my opinion) gather to practice their performance of Pyramus and Thisbe for the Duke’s wedding. Quince is handing out the parts and Bottom says he wants to play all of them. He recites a bit of the recluse play to prove his good acting. Quince feels Bottom has lots of talent but he needs to be guided and reigned in a bit. Bottom thinks he is “all that and a bag of chips”. After that Bottom asks what to where for his part giving a list of fine fake beards. They then adjourn and plan to practice in the Duke’s wood “obscenely”.
Act 2, Scene 1 Puck meets a fairy and they discuss their master’s (Oberon and Titania respectively) fight. She warns him to get away as they approach.Titania has a changeling Indian boy and Oberon wants him. Titania is refusing to give the boy to Oberon to be Oberon’s attendant. Then the Fairy recognizes Puck as Robin Goodfellow or the Hobgoblin. Puck tells tales of how terrible he is and what mean pranks he pulls. Oberon and Titania enter the stage with their separate trains of attendants then. Titania mentions that she is shunning Oberon. Oberon tells Titania that since he is her husband she must give him the boy as it is his right as her master. Titania points out that since he has been unfaithful and went and dated other women (Phillida and Hippolyta) he is hardly so. Titania laments that their fight is causing disasters. Oberon says she should give him the boy then so they aren’t the parents of more evil. Titania says she can’t since he is the son of her attendant (who sat on the beach, gossiped with her and got her what she needed in India) who died in childbirth and she promised to watch over him. Titania offers to let him come to her parties and Oberon says only if she gives him the boy. Oberon tells Puck that they will get revenge on Titania. They will get the juice of a flower that is love potion, put it on her eyes and make her fall in love with a wild beast. Demetrius and Helena enter and Demetrius tries various ways to scare her off. She says she will bear it all and will consent to be his dog. He says he threatens her reputation, makes advances to scare her, and threatens to hurt her physically all to no avail. Oberon feels sorry for Helena and tells Puck to find those Athenian people who just passed and put some of the nectar on the man’s eyes too so he loves her more.
Act 2, Scene 2 Titania goes to sleep and asks the fairies to make sure nothing gets her. The fairies sing a lullaby. Oberon enters and hopes something vile comes. Lysander and Hermia come by. They plan to go to sleep. Lysander wants to sleep with Hermia. She tells him she values her reputation and that he should sleep farther away. Lysander says thats not what he meant. They go to sleep. Puck thinks Lysander is Demetrius and anoints his eyes. Helena and Demetrius come and Demetrius says he will go alone and he leaves. Helena laments the fact that Hermia has found true love and then she happens upon Lysander and wakes up with the flower in his eyes, falling in love with her. Lysander then says he loves Helena, NOT Hermia. Helena tells him to be happy with Hermia who loves him, then Lysander leaves. Then Hermia awakes alone from a nightmare where a serpent is eating her heart, foreshadowing the story.
Act 3, Scene 1 Titania is asleep in the woods as the Mechanicals (Peter Quince’s group) enter. They choose a spot. Bottom tells Quince that they need to take Pyramus’s suicide out because it will scare the ladies. To fix this Bottom suggests they say Pyramus isn’t really dead and he is really Bottom the weaver. Then they decide the prologue will be written in eight and eight. Snout suggests the ladies will be afraid of the lion. Starveling says he will be afraid. Bottom enforces that the ladies will be afraid. Snout says the prologue should say he is the lion and Bottom says they should show half of Snout’s face and that Snout should say he is a man, Snug the joiner in fact. They then wonder how they will have moonlight since Pyramus and Thisbe meet by moonlight. They check a calendar and a almanac and find out that yes, they do have the moon. They then plan to put a window in their room. They then have someone to act out the moon chosen. Then they need a wall since the lovers look through a chink in the wall. Now they decide they want someone to act out a wall and have him open his fingers for the chink. Then they begin to rehearse. Puck enters and says he might become and auditor (editing the play to his liking) or an actor if he so and the play is boring enough. They mispronounce and act badly so Puck decides to intervene. Puck takes Bottom aside and gives him a donkey head. He reenters and the rest of the mechanicals run away in fright. Bottoms asks why they run and Snout says he has become a monster. Bottoms decides to sing to show them. He sings and Titania awakes, falling in love and calling him and angel, asking him to sing again. Bottom asks why. Titania says he is wise and beautiful. He now wants to leave the forest because he is freaked out. Titania says he will remain with her and she will give him fairy attendants and make him immortal. She calls her attendants. She tells them to attend Bottom. Bottom treats them all as spices. He asks the fairy Cobweb if he cuts himself he can use cobweb to staunch the wound and so on, treating them all as the objects their names are. Titania tells them to take him to her bedroom and asks them to make sure he can’t talk.
Act 3, Scene 2 Oberon wonders if Titania has fallen in love yet, Puck comes and tells him everything that happened in the last scene. Oberon is pleased and asks what happened to the Athenians. Puck said he put the nectar on their eyes. Demetrius and Hermia enters and Puck realizes he has made a mistake. Hermia laments, thinking Demetrius has done something to Lysander. She tells him he has and he says he has not. Hermia stalks off. Demetrius says he will now sleep. Oberon tells Puck that he has messed up and he (Oberon) will fix it. Puck goes to find Helena. Puck come back and says Helena is here. Lysander and Helena enter and then Oberon says they will wake Demetrius with all the noise. Lysander tells Helena that he loves her because she thinks he is making fun of her since he was acting the same way to Hermia earlier. Lysander says Demetrius loves Hermia. Demetrius wakes up and gives a speech on how beautiful Helena is. Helena thinks now that everyone is making fun of her. Demetrius tells Lysander to take care of Hermia instead. Hermia enters and is puzzled why Lysander is professing love to another. Lysander says he loves Helena. Hermia says it is not so. Helena says Hermia is forgetting their friendship and is also making fun of her. Hermia says Helena is the one being mean to her. Helena says Hermia is telling Demetrius and Lysander to make fun of her. Hermia says she doesn’t understand what Helena is saying. Helena says she is being made fun of. Lysander says he loves Helena. Hermia says he shouldn’t make fun of Helena. Demetrius says Lysander should return to Hermia. Lysnader says he can’t be forced. Demetrius says he loves Helena more. Hermia tells Lysander to come back and he calls her and ethiope (big insult). Hermia asks why he is so rude and he insults her skin and saying he hates her. Demetrius says Lysander has a fickle heart. Hermia asks Lysander again about why he doesn’t love her and he says he loves Helena. Hermia tells Helena that she has stolen her from him. Helena calls her a fake. Hermia says they love Helena because Helena is tall and she (Hermia) is short. Hermia also mentions she wants to scratch Helena’s eyes out. Helena says the world is being unfair to her, and Hermia is part of it. They fight more, everyone is now in the fight insulting each other. After a while the men leave, then the women and Oberon turns on Puck telling him that this is all his fault. He says Puck must lead the men away from each other by pretending he is Lysander to Demetrius in one direction and vice versa. Then they will fix Lysander and Oberon will fix Titania if she gives him the Indian boy. Puck says they must hurry as Dawn is approaching. Oberon leaves and Lysander enters and Puck leads him away in the guise of Demetrius. He does the same with Demetrius. In another place Lysander decides to go to sleep. Then Demetrius goes to sleep. Then somewhere else Helena sleeps. Then somewhere else Hermia sleeps. Puck fixes Lysander’s eyes.
Act 4, Scene 1 Titania sits on her bed with Bottom and Bottom orders the faeries around in a manner that he thinks is grand but is anything but that. Titania and Bottom listen to music. They call for food and Bottom asks for hey and oats, Titania tells the fairies to look for nuts. Bottom then asks for three peas and suggests they sleep. They sleep and Oberon comes. He has the boy and is coming to free Titania. Titania wakes up and says she dreamed she was in love with an ass and then she sees Bottom and Titania says he is ugly. Oberon order’s Puck to fix Bottom and replace him. Theseus, Hippolyta and Egeus enter. Theseus brags about how good his hounds are as they hunt of Mayday. Egeus spots Hermia, Lysander, Helena and Demetrius and he says Lysander should be killed. They wake up and say they just had a strange dream. Lysander loves Hermia and Demetrius loves Helena so Theseus says Egeus can be upset as they want since they will have a triple wedding.Bottom wakes up and says he has had the best dream in the world. No other man has had such a dream and Bottom says Quince should write a ballad on it and it will be called Bottom’s dream.
Act 4, Scene 2 The mechanicals are sad that they lost their chance. They say they can’t be without the marvelous Bottom who is a great actor. Snug mentions that since three pairs are being married that if they had stayed they would have been made men. Bottom enters and says he has been through the amazing and will tell him. Then Bottom starts telling Quince that he needs to have Thisby in clean linen, snug should grow his to be the lion and they shouldn’t eat onions so their breath and play aren’t bad.
Act 5, Scene 1 Theseus gives a tirade on love saying lovers are like poets and mad men having great imaginations. Hippolyta defends love. Lysander and Theseus talk of the entertainment and Philostrate gives Theseus a list which he reads. He finds all the plays too serious and decides on Bottom’s play for its mirth and tragedy which Philostrate laughed at as Pyramus died. Theseus asks the professions of the actors and Philostrate tells him they are common workmen. Theseus says he wants to see the play and Philostrate warns him against it. They watch it and make comments on the whole thing as they go. It was awful, so the Duke refuses to watch Bottom’s epilogue. Oberon says the fairies will come to bless the couple so they have nice looking children and Puck finishes saying that if you didn’t like the play, it was but a dream and if you did you should clap.