A Midsummer Night’s Dream Scene Guide

Act One: When we are introduced to Theseus and Hippolyta they are waiting and planning a particular event. What is it? A wedding
Who is Hermia in love with? Who does Egeus want Hermia to marry? Lysander, Demetrius
Why is Egeus mad at Lysander? He has been wooing Hermia agaisnt Egeus’s wishes.
What right does Egeus have have if Hermia refuses to follow her father’s orders? Have Hermia killed
From the fact that Egeus has the right to choose his daughter’s spouse and Theseus’ agreement with Egeus’s claim, what can you tell about women’s rights in Athens at this time? What are the rights of men? What is more important:love or duty? How do you know? Women have few rights. Men rule. Duty is ranked higher. Hermia is being asked to marry Demetrius out of duty not love.
What three choices does Theseus give Hermia? What is Hermia’s response? Nun. Death. Marry.
Who do you think Shakespeare wants the audience to sympathize with: Egeus or Herma? How do you know? Hermia because she is weaker and helpless.
Who does Lysander suggest marry Demetrius? Why? Egeus
What does Lysander mean when he says “The course of true love never did run smooth”? Do you agree? Why or Why not? Love is never easy.
What is Lysander’s plan? to elope
When Hermia and Lysander meet Helena, what kind of mood is Helena in? How can you tell? Depressed, angry, confused
How does Helena feel towards Hermia? Why? Jealous. She wants Demetrius.
What evidence does Lysander give against Demetrius’ character? What does he say of his worthiness? He seduced Helena
What does Helena wish for? What does Helena with for?
What does Helena decide to do at the end of the scene? What does she hope will happen? Tell Demetrius of the plan. She hopes Demetrius will follow them and see Helena’s devotion to him.
In these scene we are introduced to a group of men who seem to be having a meeting; what is this meeting about? a play
Who seems to be in charge of the meeting(the one who assigns the parts)? Quince
Why doesn’t Flute want to play Thisbe? He has a beard growing in
What part is bottom assigned? What part(s) does he also want to play? What is your impression of Bottom? Pyramus. Lion and Thisbe.
Where do the men agree to rehearse? Why do they not want to rehearse in town? The woods. The do not want to cause a scene.
Act Two: We are now introduced to the enchanted realm of this play: the forest and the fairies that inhabit it. In the opening, puck meets a fairy servant to the queen. They discuss a certain situation regarding King Oberon and Queen Titania. What are Oberon and Titania fighting about? Titania stole a boy from the Indian king and Oberon is jealous.
What kind of mischief does the fairy claim claim Robin Goodfellow has caused? He goes around scaring the maidens of the village, stealing milk, and causes horses to wonder aimlessly
What sorts of tasks does Puck perform for the King? Tricks citizens and animals; he’s a jester.
Where does Titania say that Oberon has been? Who does she tease him about being in love with? With another women, Hippolyta (queen of the amazon)
Who does Oberon say Titania is in love with? Theseus
Who are Oberon and Titania fighting over? The Indian boy
In your own words, what is the story behind the flower that Oberon asks Puck to fetch him? What does Oberon intend to do with it? The flower was hit by cupid’s arrow. The flower now has powers. He will put it over Titania’s eyes. He wants her to fall in love with a beast
What does Oberon overhear in the wood? Helena and Demetrius
How does Demetrius treat Helena? How does she respond? He treats her like dirt and she doesn’t care how he treats her
What does Oberon tell Puck to do with the potion? Oberon tells Puck to sprinkle the potion in the “Athenian man’s” eyes so he’ll wake up and fall for Helena.
What does Oberon do to Titania as she lies sleeping? He puts the love potion in her eyes and hopes the first thing she sees is an ugly creature when she wakes.
What happens to Hermia and Lysander in the woods? What do they decide to do? What does Hermia insist upon? The two got lost in the woods. They decide to sleep in the woods and leave in the morning. Lysander wants to sleep next to Hermia but she wants to keep her distance.
What does Puck assume about Hermia and Lysander? What does he do? He assumes they are fighting. He puts the potion on Lysander.
What happens when Helena comes across Lysander? She wakes him up.
What does Helena think of Lysander’s behavior? What does Lysander swear as he runs after Helena? She thinks he is mocking her. He swears his loyalty to her.
Describe Hermia’s dream. Why is her dream important? She dreams that a serpent ate her heart. It foreshadows heartbreak.
Act Three: What is the first problem Bottom brings up concerning the play? What is his solution to this problem? Pyramus’ suicide – Bottom claims that the sword and blood will frighten the ladies present at the performance. A prologue be written which explains that no one is really killed and that he is not Pyramus – only an actor – and therefore there is nothing to fear. He will read this and it gives him more stage time.
What is the second problem(brought up by Snout)? What is the solution they find for this trouble? The lion – the fear is that the ladies will be afraid of the lion. They decide to partially show the actor’s face so that the audience knows that he is an actor, not a lion. he will also address the audience to tell them is nothing to fear, he is only Snug the joiner
What is the first technical difficulty that Quince mentions? What is the solution? The scene calls for moonlight but the play will be indoors at night. At first they decide to open a window, but then decide to have a man represent moonshine because this will be more dramatic
What is the final problem that the players consider? How do they fix this? The lovers are supposed to whisper through a chink in a wall but there will be no wall in the hall.They decide that a man will represent the wall – he will be covered in loam and they will hold their hands out with their fingers apart in order to represent the chink
What do you think about all of these problems the actors are facing? What do you think of their “solutions”? The audience knows that they are actors, so it’s ridiculous that they feel the need to explain that it isn’t real – their solutions make what should be a serious play ridiculous
What does Puck do to Bottom? What happens to the rest of the players? Why do you think Puck plays this trick? He changes Bottom’s head into that of an ass. They are scared away by Bottom’s change. For his own amusement.
What is the irony of Bottom’s line: “I see their knavery. This is to make an ass out of me”? Bottom doesn’t know he has turned into an ass, yet he says they are trying to make an ass out of him
Why does Bottom begin singing? To let the other men know that they have not harmed him and he is not afraid of their trick on him
Who does Bottom awake? What does she think of him? What is Bottom’s reaction towards her? Titania. She falls instantly in love with him because of the love potion. she thinks he is beautiful and wise but we know he isn’t. He is caught off guard, but says love doesn’t always follow reason
What does Titania tell Bottom she will do for him? Who are Peaseblossom, Cobweb, Moth, and Mustardseed? What does the fairy tell them to do for Bottom? Whatever he wishes – he will have fairies to wait on him and she will change him so that he is more spirit than mortal. Titania’s attendants and fairies that she gives to Bottom’s service. Do whatever Bottom desires.
What does Puck tell Oberon about Titania? What is Oberon’s reaction to this news? Titania has fallen in love with an ass. He is excited and says that this is even better than he intended
Who do Puck and Oberon see in the woods? Hermia and Demetrius.
What does Hermia think Demetrius has done to Lysander? Killed him – Demetrius denies this and begs her to come back with him
What does Demetrius do when Hermia leaves? Lies down to rest and falls asleep.
What mistake does Oberon discover that Puck has made? How does Oberon try to fix the mistake? What new problem does this lead to? Puck has put the love potion in the eyes of the wrong man. Tells Puck to bring Helena near Demetrius and that he will place the potion on Demetrius’ eyes. When Puck leads Helena to the where Demetrius sleeps, Lysander follows. Lysander’s pleas to Helena for her love and Helena’s protests awaken Demetrius, who falls in love with Helena. Helena now has two men madly in love with her.
What does Helena think of Lysander’s behavior? What is Helena’s reaction to all of this new attention? She thinks that they are making fun of her and they have made an alliance against her. She thinks they are making fun of her.
What does Helena accuse Hermia of? Why does she claim that this is an especially horrible crime? Aiding the men in their deceit, thus making and even more horrible joke of her. Because they have been such good friends and because they are both women and should defend each other
What things does Lysander say about Hermia? What does Helena say about her? He calls her an Ethiop, or dark (this would have been an insult since it was fashionable to be light skinned). She is short (a puppet), (an insult because tall women were considered more attractive)
What happens between the two women as the argument progresses? Helena insults Hermia, who takes the insult to heart. Hermia accuses Helena of bewitching the two men and threatens to harm her physically. Helena is frightened by Hermia’s threats because she is stronger than Helena. The two men try to keep them apart
What do Lysander and Demetrius decide to do? What happens to the people women? To duel
What does Oberon instruct Puck to do?What is he going to do while Puck is busy with this? Lead the two men in opposite directions so they won’t harm each other. exhaust the men on the search until they drop with fatigue. then lead Hermia to Lysander, who will have an antidote placed on his eyes and lead Helena to Demetrius, so that when they wake up they will be with the right partner and all will end happily. To win the boy from his queen and wake her from the spell
How does the scene end? Puck manages to lead the lovers to each other and they all lie asleep where they are meant to be.
Act Four: In the beginning of the act we find Titania and Bottom(still transformed). How does Bottom feel about his situation? How do you know? He doesn’t seem to understand what is going on at all. He is enjoying it, but he doesn’t know where he is or what he looks like.because he talks about going visit the barber because his beard is too long and he wants hay and oats and wonders why
How does Bottom treat the fairies? With whom do you sympathize? Bottom treats the fairies like his servants (which they basically are).Sympathize with the fairies because Bottom just orders them around.
How does Oberon feel about Titania, after seeing her with Bottom? How does he plan to fix everything? He begins to pity her and feels sorry for all he has done to wrong her. He decided to reverse the potion on everyone and make things as they were, starting with Titaniahe tells Puck to remove Bottom’s ass head after he has released Titania from the spell and awoken her
Oberon’s speech after seeing Titania serves as exposition; what does this mean? What purpose does the exposition serve at this point in the story? A technique through which untold elements of the plot are given to the audience. Gives us details we would not know(narrative is biased in Oberon’s favor)
Do you think Titania makes a sympathetic or laughable picture in the beginning of this scene? What might the purpose of this portrayal be? Sympathetic and laughable. Her behavior made her look as much of an ass as Bottom. To make you feel sorry for her.
When Titania is herself again, how has her relationship changed with her husband? She is much more amicable and less defensive and hostile with Oberon now — she wakes and thinks her marriage is mended, she seeks his counsel and protection, calls him her Oberon, agrees to find a place where they can dance and be merry
What do Oberon and Titania decide to do once they are reconciled? To hold festivities around the world and visit the Duke’s estate where the wedding is taking place
What are Theseus and Hippolyta doing when they come across the lovers? What does this tell you about Hippolyta, especially considering what she says of the hounds? They are hunting. The fact that she is on a hunt and the way she describes the baying of the hounds reveals the strong, wild spirit of the Amazon queen. Although Theseus has won her, he has not changed her. This is meant to be seen as real love
How do the lovers feel about the strange events of the woods? How do you know? Although they act confused, they don’t seem afraid for disturbed. they all seem to think that they are dreaming, but this is the worst possible answer to the questions in their mind.
What do the lovers tell the duke about the night they spent in the woods? What then does the duke decide? How does Egeus feel about this? Lysander tells about he and Hermia’s plan, which infuriates Egeus, who demand’s Lysander’s punishment. Demetrius reveals that he has somehow come to love Helena again. Theseus considers the problem solved and invites the lovers to join him and Hippolyta in their wedding ceremony. Angry.
What happens to Bottom? What does he conclude he should do about it? Bottom wakes up and thinks he must have been dreaming. He will write a song about the dream and sing it at the end of the play. he goes find his friends and tells them that they have been chosen to perform for the wedding
This scene wraps up most of the loose ends of the play. In Demetrius’s speech to Theseus, he speaks of their experience in the woods and his change from loving Hermia to Helena. All for lovers describe the night as a dream. Do you think this might have been an acceptable ending for this play, or is a fifth act necessary in your opinion? Why might Shakespeare have felt a fifth act was needed? For comic relief or entertainment value
What are the workmen doing at the beginning of the scene? What is their fear? They are searching for Bottom. That Bottom is missing forever and that their play is ruined
Why, in their opinion, is the play ruined without Bottom? Because it is their opinion that Bottom is the best actor around
What does Bottom tell his friends when he arrives? That the duke is finished eating and wants to see their play
Act Five: What are Theseus and Hippolyta at the beginning of the act( before the lovers enter)? What is Theseus’ opinion? What is Hippolyta’s The stories of the lovers. That all the confusion is just their imagination. She believes the lovers since their stories are consistent
What are the two oxymora(an oxymoron is a phrase in which two words contradict each other) present in the description of the play involving Pyramus and Thisby(lines 56-58)? How does Philostrate account for these contradictions? (merry and tragic) and (tedious and brief). Tragic because the lover kill themselves, but merry because the way it is played out causes the audience to laugh.Brief in actual length but tedious because even its short length is too long
In lines 118-120, the audience members make some observations about Quince’s speech. Theseus says that “This fellow does not stand upon points” and Lysander says, “He hath rid this prologue like a rough colt;/ He knows not the stop.” What two comments are being said about this speech? He doesn’t know when to stop and he doesn’t understand the use of periods (stop or points = periods)
What does Demetrius when he says, in lines 153-154, “No wonder, my lord; one lion may, when/ many asses do”? They should not be surprised when a lion speaks because asses (the men) are speaking
What is humorous about Theseus’s comment: “The wall methinks, being sensible, should/curse again”? Since the wall can speak, he should be a part of the action and defend himself for having to play a wall
Explain the confusion in Pyramus’s lines, “I see a voice… I can hear my Thisby’s face” (lines 189-190)? The audience has already commented on the simple nature of the men and their lack of professionalism, this reinforces it. Either Bottom has blundered his lines or they were written incorrectly and he memorized them without noticing. This is for comic relief.
What does Theseus mean when he says, “If we imagine no worse of them than they/ of themselves, they may pass for excellent men” (lines 212-212)? That the men seem to think they are quite good at presenting a play, which we know isn’t true.
According to Thisby’s description, (lines 330-335) describe Pyramus. With lily lips, a cherry nose and with yellow cheeks which makes him seem either sickly or clownish. this ruins the tragedy of the moment as one is more amused than sympathetic
How long will the wedding festivities continue? A fortnight which is two weeks
What do the fairies enter the palace to do? They come to bless the couples and fill the palace with joy
Puck’s last speech is directed to the audience. What do you think about Puck’s description of himself? What does he tell the audience in his speech? He describes himself as honest which has not been completely true. this makes the audience question the validity of his speech. That if their performance has offended us, they meant well and will soon amend it. he also says to look on the experience as a dream
Puck “Lord, what fools these mortals be!”.Also known as Robin Goodfellow, Puck is Oberon’s jester, a mischievous fairy who delights in playing pranks on mortals. Though A Midsummer Night’s Dream divides its action between several groups of characters, Puck is the closest thing the play has to a protagonist. His enchanting, mischievous spirit pervades the atmosphere, and his antics are responsible for many of the complications that propel the other main plots: he mistakes the young Athenians, applying the love potion to Lysander instead of Demetrius, thereby causing chaos within the group of young lovers; he also transforms Bottom’s head into that of an ass.
Oberon The king of the fairies, Oberon is initially at odds with his wife, Titania, because she refuses to relinquish control of a young Indian prince whom he wants for a knight. Oberon’s desire for revenge on Titania leads him to send Puck to obtain the love-potion flower that creates so much of the play’s confusion and farce.
Titania The beautiful queen of the fairies, Titania resists the attempts of her husband, Oberon, to make a knight of the young Indian prince that she has been given. Titania’s brief, potion-induced love for Nick Bottom, whose head Puck has transformed into that of an ass, yields the play’s foremost example of the contrast motif.
Lysander A young man of Athens, in love with Hermia. Lysander’s relationship with Hermia invokes the theme of love’s difficulty: he cannot marry her openly because Egeus, her father, wishes her to wed Demetrius; when Lysander and Hermia run away into the forest, Lysander becomes the victim of misapplied magic and wakes up in love with Helena.
Demetrius A young man of Athens, initially in love with Hermia and ultimately in love with Helena. Demetrius’s obstinate pursuit of Hermia throws love out of balance among the quartet of Athenian youths and precludes a symmetrical two-couple arrangement.
Hermia Egeus’s daughter, a young woman of Athens. Hermia is in love with Lysander and is a childhood friend of Helena. As a result of the fairies’ mischief with Oberon’s love potion, both Lysander and Demetrius suddenly fall in love with Helena. Self-conscious about her short stature, Hermia suspects that Helena has wooed the men with her height. By morning, however, Puck has sorted matters out with the love potion, and Lysander’s love for Hermia is restored.
Helena A young woman of Athens, in love with Demetrius. Demetrius and Helena were once betrothed, but when Demetrius met Helena’s friend Hermia, he fell in love with her and abandoned Helena. Lacking confidence in her looks, Helena thinks that Demetrius and Lysander are mocking her when the fairies’ mischief causes them to fall in love with her.
Egeus Hermia’s father, who brings a complaint against his daughter to Theseus: Egeus has given Demetrius permission to marry Hermia, but Hermia, in love with Lysander, refuses to marry Demetrius. Egeus’s severe insistence that Hermia either respect his wishes or be held accountable to Athenian law places him squarely outside the whimsical dream realm of the forest.
Theseus The heroic duke of Athens, engaged to Hippolyta. Theseus represents power and order throughout the play. He appears only at the beginning and end of the story, removed from the dreamlike events of the forest.
Hippolyta The legendary queen of the Amazons, engaged to Theseus. Like Theseus, she symbolizes order.
Nick Bottom The overconfident weaver chosen to play Pyramus in the craftsmen’s play for Theseus’s marriage celebration. Bottom is full of advice and self-confidence but frequently makes silly mistakes and misuses language. His simultaneous nonchalance about the beautiful Titania’s sudden love for him and unawareness of the fact that Puck has transformed his head into that of an ass mark the pinnacle of his foolish arrogance.
Peter Quince A carpenter and the nominal leader of the craftsmen’s attempt to put on a play for Theseus’s marriage celebration. Quince is often shoved aside by the abundantly confident Bottom. During the craftsmen’s play, Quince plays the Prologue.
Francis Flute The bellows-mender chosen to play Thisbe in the craftsmen’s play for Theseus’s marriage celebration. Forced to play a young girl in love, the bearded craftsman determines to speak his lines in a high, squeaky voice.
Robin Starveling The tailor chosen to play Thisbe’s mother in the craftsmen’s play for Theseus’s marriage celebration. He ends up playing the part of Moonshine.
Tom Snout The tinker chosen to play Pyramus’s father in the craftsmen’s play for Theseus’s marriage celebration. He ends up playing the part of Wall, dividing the two lovers.
Snug The joiner chosen to play the lion in the craftsmen’s play for Theseus’s marriage celebration. Snug worries that his roaring will frighten the ladies in the audience.
Philostrate Theseus’s Master of the Revels, responsible for organizing the entertainment for the duke’s marriage celebration.