A Midsummer Night’s Dream Act 1

Who is Theseus? The Duke of Athens, who is called on by Egeus to enforce the law of Athens on his daughter.
Why is Theseus anxious for the rising of the new moon? Theseus is engaged to the former Amazon queen, Hippolyta, and will marry her on the rising of the new moon. He is madly in love, so he is very excited. He also chooses this date as the deadline for Hermia’s descision about her marriage.
What does Theseus tell Philostrate to do? Philostrate is charged with the duty of making all of the villiagers of Athens excited about Thesus’ marriage. He is also sent to find entertainment.1
Why is Egeus angry? His daughter, Hermia, is determined to marry Lysander, whereas he wants her to marry Demetrius. He feels that if she gets he own way, his reputation will fall into shambles.
Why has Egeus come to see Theseus? Egeus wants Theseus to enforce the law on his daughter (she would have to obey him) so that his reputation and pride would remain intact.
What are your impressions of Hermia? (personal opinion) Hermia is a young woman who is slightly more bold than other women of her time, though this is not really shown in the time she spends alone with Lysander. She is very frustrated at her father, Demetrius, and Theseus.
Whom does Hermia love? Lysander, but she is supposed to love Demetrius.
What alternatives does Theseus offer Hermia? Hermia is offered three choices:1. Marry Demetrius2. Become a nun3. Be executed
In what tone do you imagine Theseus presenting Hermia’s alternatives? (personal opinion) Theseus’ tone is slightly pitying, and very calm. He is trying to be a peacemaker between her and her father.
How does Hermia change during her time alone with Lysander? Wheras Hermia is bold and defiant when faced by Egeus and Theseus, she shows a more domestic side in her time alone with Lysander. This is when she takes up the more feminine role expected by women of her time.
Where do Lysander and Hemia agree to meet? In the woods outside the city.
Why do Lysander and Hermia agree to meet there? The wood is far from prying eyes and will conceal them as they run away.
What is the relationship between Hermia and Helena? This, sadly is a friendship turned sour. Helena and Hermia used to be the best of friends, but when Demetrius decided to marry Hermia, Helena went slightly mad, Hermia trys to comfort her while she dotes on how Hermia is perfect and she is not.
How does Helena betray the secret Hermia tells her? Helena, in an attempt to get Demetrius to notice her, tells him of Hermia and Lysander’s plan to run away into the woods.
Why does Helena give away Hermia’s secret? Helena is so desperate for Demetrius that she is willing to ruin her best friend’s plans just to get him to talk to her.
Why do you suppose Egeus prefers Demetrius to Lysander? (personal opinion) Demetrius is probably a business partner or son of a business partner to Egeus. Demetrius ultimately has a more professional air about him, whereas Lysander is more openly affectionate.
Do you think a father has the right to interfere in his daughter’s love life? (personal opinion) No, because I believe that everyone has the right to personal choice and that anything less is unjust. However, this opinion is, of course, greatly influenced by the fact that I have grown up in a modern society where the accepted ideals are freedom and choice for everyone. A good deal more discrimination and loss of rights (especially for young girls or lower class men) was socially accepted in the time period and the location in which the play takes place.
Foil When an author uses two opposite character types to emphasize the difference between the two characters they are said to be literary foils for each other.
Who are literary foils in Act 1? The two main foils are Hermia and Helena. Whereas Hermia is bold, composed, and independent, Helena is slightly mad, unsure of herself, and dependent on the opinions of others to dictate her life.
What is the purpose of the meeting at Peter Quince’s house? Philostrate was sent out by Theseus to find entertainment for the wedding, and the villagers rose to the task. They have decided to put on the play, Pyramus and Thisbe and at Peter’s house, distribute parts.
Who is Nick Bottom? Nick Bottom is a comical villager with a very high opinion of himself. He is a bit control hungry and tries to play every part in the play by himself.
Why is the plot of Pyramus and Thisbe inappropriate for a comedy? In Shakesperian times, the main way to distinguish between a comedy and a tragedy was to look at the ending. If it was happy, the play was a comedy, if lots of the characters died at the end, it was a tragedy. Since both Pyramus and Thisbe die at the end of their play, it is not a comedy.
How are the characters Pyramus and Thisbe like Hermia and Lysander? Both pairs are lovers that should not be together. Their parents are both very disapproving of their relationships. They both have plans for the woman to escape, alone into the woods, where they will later be met by their lovers.
What part will Bottom play? Bottom is supposed to play the part of Pyramus, although he is keen to play every part.
How do the names of the tradesmen fit their occupations? Nick Bottom – a weaver, however this name refers more to his job of thinking himself better than everyone else.Peter Quince – a carpenter. His name is derived from “quines” or “quoins”, which are wooden wedges used by carpenters.Francis Flute – the bellows-mender. A bellows-mender repairs the bellows used to increase the flow of air to a fire. Just as he is making air flow to fires, his name refers to an instrument (flute) in which air flows through to make sound.Tom Snout – a tinker. In this job, he would have to fix water spouts, which are one letter away from snouts.Snug – a joiner. He would have to join things together so that they fit snugly.Robin Starveling – a tailor. His name refers to the tendency of tailors to be skinny, hence, starved-looking.Thanks to Hudson Shakespeare Company for help with the descriptions of Quince, Snout, and Starveling:hudsonshakespeare.org/Shakespeare Library/Character Directory/CD_mid_summer.htm
What part will Snug play? Snug is cast as the lion.
What is funny about Snug’s asking whether his lines will be written out? A lion cannot talk, and thus would not have any lines to memorize.
When and where do the tradesmen plan to rehearse? In the palace wood, a mile away from the town, because they do not want to attract attention or have people see their play beforehand. They are to meet the next day, at night.
What do the others seem to think about Bottom? They think that he is an amazing actor, but, Peter Quince especially, get a bit frustrated at his attempts to control everyone’s roles.
How does Bottom feel about himself? Bottom also thinks that he is amazing, and does not attempt to hide this opinion. He is quite self centered and thinks that he can do everything.
What is iambic pentameter? A poetic type of writing in which every line has 10 syllables. These syllables use a pattern of unstressed, stressed, unstressed…etc. It can rhyme or not.
When and why does Shakespeare use iambic pentameter? Shakespeare uses iambic pentameter with characters of a more refined class of society to show their higher standards. This is not the case for the tradesmen.
What is prose? When the lines of a play are written in normal paragraphs as opposed to iambic pentameter or similar.
What is a malapropism? When a character uses a word wrong or says another, similar sounding word in the place of a word or phrase. This is used to provide a more comical personality.
What is an example of a malapropism in Act 1, Scene 2? Near the end of the scene, Bottom accidentally replaces ‘seemly’ with ‘obscenely’. Whereas seemly means proper and polite, obscenely means innapropriate or crude. This use of opposites highlights Bottom’s lack of intelligence.