This page is for plot, character descriptions, and great lines from the play "A Midsummer Night's Dream."
What Happens in the PlayEdit
The play starts with the scene where Hermia refuses to follow her father Egeus’ order to marry Demetrius. Then, Egeus quotes from an ancient Athenian law that says that a daughter who does not follow her father’s instructions about her wedding shall deserve to die. Theseus tells her that she can also be a nun for the rest of her life if she does not marry Demetrius. Hermia, not wanting to marry her suitor, becomes miserable because of this, and decides to run elope with her lover Lysander. They decide to go through the forest at night in order to marry in a place far from Athens. Hermia shares this escape plan with her close friend Helena, who has been recently rejected by Demetrius. In order to gain Demetrius’ love, Helena reveals this plan to Demetrius. When he hears this, Demetrius starts to chase Hermia and Lysander, hoping that he would catch them and marry Hermia. Helena, being crazily in love with Demetrius, follows Demetrius into the forest.
In the forest, Oberon (king of fairies) and his queen Titania talk about Theseus and Hippolyta’s wedding. Titania does not give her Indian boy to Oberon, who wants to use this Indian changeling as a knight or henchman for himself. Oberon gets angry and thinks of a punishment for Titania. He calls Puck (Hobgoblin, Robin Goodfellow) to help him get a magical juice from a flower. When applied to a person’s eyes while sleeping, this juice makes the victim fall in love with the first alive thing seen upon awakening. Oberon instructs Puck to apply this juice on Titania’s eyes, making sure that the first thing she will see will be an animal when she wakes up.
Oberon then orders Puck to spread some elixir on the eyelids of Demetrius, after seeing him act cruelly toward Helena, who loves him foolishly. Puck makes a mistake and spreads the elixir on the eyes of Lysander instead of Demetrius. Helena comes across Lysander and wakes him up to see if he is alive or not. After this incident, Lysander immediately falls in love with Helena because of the flower's juice. Oberon sees that there's something wrong with his plan, so he gets very angry and sends Puck back to the forest to spread the elixir on the eyes of the correct man while he is sleeping. Demetrius sees Helena when he wakes up as well. Both Demetrius and Lysander start to chase Helena, claiming that they love her dearly. Helena thinks that these two suitors are mocking her, because she cannot believe that they both love her. Hermia becomes depressed upon seeing the betrayal; Demetrius abandoned her for Helena's love. The four lovers start to fight in the forest and accuse each other of stealing their lovers. At the end, Lysander and Demetrius start to look for a place to duel each other to death in order to receive Helena's love. Oberon orders Puck to go back and separate the two guys in order to establish peace in the forest.
While the lovers are sleeping, the Mechanicals (who are six low-class laborers) rehearse for a play that they will perform in Theseus' wedding. Theseus will be wed to Hippolyta, who is the queen to Amazons. The Mechanicals rehearse in the forest, at a place that is near to where Titania sleeps. Puck spots a weaver, who is Nick Bottom, and transforms his head into a donkey head. After Puck's prank, Bottom goes back to the rehearsal in order to say his lines but his friends get really scared and run away with horror. Believing that his friends will come back, Bottom starts to sing to himself and accidentally wakes TItania up. TItania, awakened by Bottom's singing, immediately falls in love with this donkey-headed man. She treats him like a king, and her fairies serve Bottom as if he was a nobleman as well. While she is under the elixir's control, Titania gives the Indian boy when she comes across Oberon. Having reached his goal, Oberon orders Puck to fix Bottom's head and remove the elixir from Lysander. It is decided that the flower juice will remain on Demetrius' eyes, so that he can respond to poor Helena's love.
The fairies disappear, and Theseus and Hippolyta arrive on the scene while they're out for hunting in early morning. They wake the lovers who are sleeping. When they wake up, everything turns out to be perfect: Demetrius doesn't love Hermia anymore, but loves Helena instead. Theseus does not listen to Egeus' instructions and arrange a group wedding. The lovers think that the night before was a bad dream that they have seen. Bottom wakes up in the forest as well, thinking that he saw a dream. In Athens, Theseus, his wife Hippolyta and the four young lovers watch the six laborers play "Pyramus and Thisbe". The play sucks, but entertains everyone. After the play, everyone goes to bed. The fairies, Oberon, Titania and Puck enter the last in order to bless this house and the people who live in it for good fortune.
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