A Midsummer Night's Dream
A Midsummer Night's Dream is a play by William Shakespeare and one of his most famous comedies. It tells several interconnected stories about the people and fairies in and around ancient Athens. The play was probably written around 1595.
- Theseus, Duke of Athens
- Hippolyta, Queen of the Amazons, bethrothed to Theseus
- Lysander, in love with Hermia
- Demetrius, in love with Hermia
- Hermia, in love with Lysander
- Helena, in love with Demetrius
- Egeus, father of Hermia
- Philostrate, Master of the Revels for Theseus
- Rude mechanicals:
- Peter Quince, carpenter, leader of the acting troupe
- Nick Bottom, weaver, plays Pyramus
- Francis Flute, bellows-mender, plays Thisbe
- Robin Starveling, tailor, plays moonshine
- Tom Snout, tinker, plays wall
- Snug, joiner, plays lion
- Oberon, King of Fairies
- Titania, Queen of Fairies
- Puck, or Robin Goodfellow, servant to Oberon
- Peaseblossom, Titania's fairy servant
- Cobweb, Titania's fairy servant
- Moth, Titania's fairy servant
- Mustardseed, Titania's fairy servant
Theseus and Hippolyta are preparing for their wedding in four days. Egeus comes in with his daughter, Hermia. He is incensed because her daughter refuses to marry her designated husband, Demetrius, and chooses Lysander instead. Theseus gives her an ultimatum between marrying Demetrius or living the rest of her life as a nun.
After the other ones are gone, Lysander and Hermia plan to elope from Athens that night and go to Lysander's aunt outside the city. They tell Helena about this plan and say goodbye to her. Helena, who wants to woo Demetrius, decides to tell him of the lovers' secret plan.
Meanwhile, a group of amateur actors meet to determine their next play to stage at Theseus and Hippolyta's wedding, which is to be Pyramus and Thisbe. Peter Quince tries to control the group of mechanicals and give them their roles. Nick Bottom the weaver is chosen to play Pyramus. They then agree to meet in the woods to rehearse.
In the woods, Oberon and Titania bickers about a boy under Titania's custody. Oberon wants to make him one of his servants, but Titania swears to raise him herself. Oberon then plans to have his revenge with Titania and tells his servant Puck to get a love potion that will make the victim fall in love with the first object that he sees. Oberon then applies this potion on Titania's eyes while she's sleeping.
While the actors are rehearsing in the woods, Puck plays a prank on Nick Bottom and changes his head to an ass's head. The other actors are terrified and leave him alone. When Titania wakes up, she falls in love with Bottom and spoils him with her fairy servants.
Demetrius goes to look for Lysander and Hermia, and Helena follows him, but they both get lost in the woods. Demetrius is treating Helena badly because he is sick of being followed all the time. Finally he leaves her alone. Oberon sees this scene and takes pity on Helena. When Puck returns, Oberon instructs him to apply the love potion to Demetrius's eyes so he would fall in love with Helena.
Puck, who does not know how Demetrius looks like, makes a mistake and applies the potion on Lysander's eyes instead. When Helena, now alone and still lost, stumbles upon Lysander, he wakes up and instantly falls in love with her. He leaves Hermia sleeping on the ground to follow Helena.
Oberon comes back and realizes this mistake. He quickly applies the potion on Demetrius's eyes as well. When Demetrius wakes up, he falls in love with Helena too and squabbles with Lysander over who loves her more. Meanwhile, Hermia wakes up and looks for Lysander. When she finds him, she could not understand his change of attitude.
Lysander and Demetrius then take off to duel in another place. Puck exhausts them both with illusions, and after all four fall asleep again, he lifts the magic from Lysander's eyes.
Oberon decides that it is time to make amends with Titania. He lifts the magic from her eyes and returns Bottom's head to normal. When the four lovers wake up, Lysander returns to Hermia and Demetrius to Helena. They tell their story to Theseus, who decides that instead of becoming a nun, Hermia is allowed to marry Lysander after all, Demetrius is to marry Helena, and both happy couples are going to get married on the same day as him.
Bottom returns to his friends on time to stage the play Pyramus and Thisbe in front of the three marrying couples.
- Felix Mendelssohn wrote the incidental music in 1843 for a German stage production. One of the songs is the Wedding March, which is still frequently used today in Western wedding ceremonies.
- A 1960 opera by Benjamin Britten.
- A 1999 film adaptation directed by Michael Hoffman transfers the setting to 19th-century Tuscany, starring Kevin Kline, Rupert Everett, Michelle Pfeiffer, Sophie Marceau, Christian Bale, Dominic West, and Calista Flockhart.
- The 2003 novel Lords and Ladies by Terry Pratchett is loosely based on the play. (ISBN 0061056928)