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A Mid-summer Night’s Dream

A Mid-summer Night’s Dream– Know more about it

Writer – William Shakespeare

William Shakespeare was an English playwright, poet and actor. He is widely regarded as the greatest writer in the English language and the world’s pre-eminent dramatist. He is often called England’s national poet and the “Bard of Avon”.

His works consist of some 39 plays, 154 sonnets, three long narrative poems, and a few other verses. His plays have been translated into every major living language and are performed more often than those of any other playwright. Shakespeare remains arguably the most influential writer in the English language.

Main Characters:

Theseus: Duke of Athens.

Egeus: Hermia’s father.

Lysander: in love with Hermia. A young Athenian and one of the four lovers.

Demetrius: in love with Helena. He is a young man who is engaged to a young woman, Hermia. She is in love with another man named Lysander.

Hermia: the daughter of a powerful nobleman, Egeus. She has fallen in love with a boy called Lysander, but her dad wants her to marry a boy called Demetrius. She doesn’t like Demetrius at all.

Helena: in love with Demetrius. A close friend of Hermia.

Oberon: king of the fairies. He is engaged in a dispute with his wife Titania, the fairy queen. They were arguing over custody of an Indian child.

Titania: queen of the fairies. She is wife of the Fairy King, Oberon. She doesn’t want to loose her custody of an Indian child.

Puck: Robin Goodfellow: A mischievous person and Oberon’s servant and jester, one of Shakespeare’s most enjoyable characters. He creates commotion.

Philostrate: master of the revels to Theseus

Quince: a carpenter.

Bottom: a weaver.

Hippolyta: queen of the Amazons

Story / Plot of the drama

‘A Mid-Summer Night’s Dream’ is a comedy of errors. The major characters are in confusion about their love due to love potion.

Hermia is in love with Lysander while Helena is in love with Demetrius. Egeus is the father of Hermia. When Egeus comes with Hermia, Lysander, Demetrius at Duke Theseus, he complains that Hermia disobeys him and stubbornly refuses to marry Demetrius as she is in love with Lysander.

The Duke Theseus urges Hermia to obey her father but she refuses him. The Duke gives her three alternatives- to marry Demetrius or become a nun or to suffer a death sentence. The Duke gives her time to think this over until the day of his own marriage.

Lysander and Hermia decide to run into the Woods and get married. Demetrius who used to love Helena (Hermia’s friend), has rejects her love and is now interested in Hermia. Demetrius decides to follow Hermia, and Helena decides to follow Demetrius.

The king of faeries – Oberon and Queen of Faeries – Titania are having a fight over the custody of an Indian boy as to who shall own him. In order to teach a lesson to Titania – Oberon hatches a plan with the help of Puck. Oberon orders Puck to bring the magic potion – ‘Love in Idleness’ the juice of which if poured on the eyelids of a sleeping person, makes him/her fall madly in love with the first person he/she sees after waking up. He thus plans to madden Titania and get the custody of the Indian boy.

As Demetrius enters the wood, followed by Helena, Oberon notices his cold behavior with Helena and decides to develop feelings for her in the heart of Demetrius and orders Puck to apply the juice on his eyelids.

Taking Lysander for Demetrius Puck squeezes the juice on his eyelids. Helena, who enters the wood following Demetrius, proves to be the first-person Lysander sees after waking up and falls in love with her instantly.

Puck, who is appalled by the awful acting of Bottom, bewitches him by transforming his head into that of an ass. Titania sees ass headed Bottom and she fails in his love due to effect of the love potion.

Puck wins praise by Oberon for his affair of Titania –Botton. But as Oberon realizes Puck’s mistake of using the love potion for Lysander instead of Demetrius, he himself squeezes it on the eyelids of Demetrius. He sends Puck to fetch Helena which leads the fierce quarrel between Hermia and Helena as also between Lysander and Demetrius for Helena.

Oberon then gets the muddle sorted out by setting the wrong right in case of all Athenians by removing the spell of potion from Lysander, restoring his love for Hermia.

Oberon also feels the need to release Titania from this spell as he feels sorry for her and his purpose of obtaining the Indian boy is also served. He orders Puck to restore Bottom’s head.

The Duke sees the love between Demetrius and Helena and happily allows Hermia marry Lysander. Thus, the play ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’ ends on a happy note.


(C) Answer in about 50 words.

(Questions: Plot/Structure/Theme/Setting/Language/Character)

Questions         4 Marks
A1. (Describe/Explain/Compare/Contrast/Name/Discuss)(2)
A2. (Illustrate/Interpret/Narrate/Justify/Find/Identify)  (2)                        


Q.1 Compare the character sketch of Oberon as an enemy of his wife but a friend of lovers.

Oberon, the king of fairies, is shown having two faces. On the one hand, he is shown hatching a plan with the help of Puck by using ‘Love in Idleness’. He tries to ensure that the proper lovers end up loving each other. He brings the happy ending of their love story.

On the other hand, in his dealings with his wife Titania, Oberon is shown as a wicked man. Oberon quarrels with Titania over the custody of an Indian boy. He tries to prove his authority as a male and desires the custody of the boy. He also tries to defeat his wife by casting a spell upon her.

So, in the drama Oberon is seen as an enemy of his wife but a friend of lovers.

Q.2. ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’ is a comedy. Justify.

A Midsummer Night’s Dream is one of the best examples of Shakespear’s comedy. It is in fact a comedy of errors. It has all the features of comedy like conflict between characters, resolution over the problem, cleared confusions between the love triangle, reunion and marriage. The ending of the drama is happy so it is a comedy.

Q.3. Describe the theme of the play- ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’.

The dominant theme in ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream is Love. William Shakespeare portrays how people fall in love with those who appear beautiful to them. However, if one rejects other’s true love, then jealousy starts in the minds of the lovers. The same situation arises if one does not spend quality time with the other. So love, jealousy and revenge these are the themes of the play.

See More-

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Q. 4. ‘A Midsummer-Night’s Dream’ is one of the best examples of Shakespeare’s Comedy of Errors. Comment.

Shakespeare’s ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’ is rightly described as comedy of error. It involves hilarious love quarrels brought on by both mistaken identities and confusion created by magic position. Oberon orders Puck to use the love potion, which causes a sleeping recipient to fall in love with the first person he or she sees upon waking. Puck, however, mistakes Lysander for Demetrius, and this mistake causes Lysander to fall in love with Helena. Lysander forgets his true love Hermia. Helena is pursuing Demetrius but Demetrius wants Hermia. Thus, before entering the forest, both men are in love with Hermia. After entering the forest, due to Puck’s error in identifying Demetrius, both men fall in love with Helena. Meanwhile, Oberon administers the same love potion to Titania, who later wakes up to fall in love with the donkey-headed Bottom.

By the next morning, the confusion has been resolved. The couples get their love. It ends with a happy note. So, this play is considered as a comedy of errors.

Q. 5. Comment on the versatility and the aptness of the stage settings, as per the requirement of the play “A Midsummer-Night’s Dream!”

The play ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’ is set in ancient Athens and the wood just outside it.  The Duke’s palace inside the walls of the city and the Woods outside the walls of Athens are the two major settings of the play. Shakespeare changes the wood into a magic place with fairies. The city of Athens along with the Duke’s palace symbolise law and order.  The wood represents chaos and dreamy land. As Athens is governed by rules and regulations, the Duke has to enforce the law and instruct Hermia to marry Demetrius. The drama events happen in the Woods, where King of the fairies, Oberon, plays the lives of the four lovers and causes chaos in the process. The wood is apt as a setting because it is a magical and unrealistic place. It is not like the realistic world of humans, where there is strict law and order. The presence of the Duke in the Woods does bring some order to its chaos.

Thus, the characters form a part of the stage setting and change as the setting changes. The setting is therefore versatile and apt as it perfectly complements the mood of the characters and happenings of the play.

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