A Midsummer Night’s Dream

Act One

Scene 1

  • page 3: We learn Theseus and Hippolyta are planning to get married in 4 days. Shakespeare’s comedies typically end in marriage.
  • page 3: This play is set in Athens.
  • page 5: Egeus is upset because his daughter, Hermia, wants to marry Lysander, and he wants her to marry Demetrius. He wants Theseus to enforce the law that says he can have her killed for disobedience.
  • page 9: Theseus gives Hermia 3 options–be executed, marry Demetrius, or become a nun.
  • page 9: We learn that Helena is in love with Demetrius and that he used to favor her.
  • page 13-15: Lysander and Hermia make a plan to run away together to a place outside of Athens where they can avoid the law.
  • page 21: Helena reveals that she plans to tell Demetrius about Hermia and Lysander’s plan.

Scene 2

  • page 23: Nick Bottom confuses his words and looks stupid
  • page 23: silly, illogical title of the play the actors will be performing for Theseus’ wedding
  • page 25: Nick Bottom brags on his acting skills
  • page 27: Flute doesn’t want to play a woman because he is growing a beard *Women didn’t act, so young men played female roles frequently
  • page 29: humor in Snug wanting to know the lines for the part of the lion (who just roars)
  • page 31: the players are going to rehearse in the duke’s forest, the same forest where Hermia and Lysander plan to meet to run away

Act Two

Scene 1

  • page 33: Oberon is angry that Titania will not give him the Indian boy
  • page 35: Puck is a mischievous spirit who amuses Oberon and plays jokes on humans
  • page 37: We learn Titania and Oberon really do not like each other
  • page 39: The seasons/weather are all messed up because of the fairies’ arguing
  • page 43: back story about the flower/potion
  • page 45: Oberon plans to put some of the potion on Titania’s eyelids so that she will fall in love with the first living creature she sees
  • page 49: Oberon was listening to Demetrius and Helena arguing, and he vows to make it so that Demetrius is chasing her
  • page 51: Oberon tells Puck to put some of the potion in the Athenian’s eyes

Scene 2

  • page 55: Oberon puts the juice on Titania’s eyelids
  • page 57: Lysander and Hermia pledge their loyalty to each other/they fall asleep
  • page 59: Puck mistakes Lysander for the Athenian man and puts the juice in his eyes
  • page 61: Lysander wakes up and sees Helena first; he falls in love with her instantly because of the juice
  • page 65: Hermia wakes up and doesn’t know where Lystander is

Act Three

Scene 1

  • page 67: the players’ first problem, the killing
  • page 69: the players’ second problem, the lion
  • page 70: the players’ third problem, the need for moonlight
  • page 70: the players’ third problem, the wall
  • page 75: Bottom’s head has been turned into a donkey, other players freak out
  • page 77: Titania wakes up and sees Bottom first (which is funny since he has the head of a donkey)

Scene 2

  • page 84: Puck fills Oberon in on what he has done with the love juice
  • page 86: An “aside” is when a character is speaking only to another character. It’s not meant for everyone on the stage to hear.
  • page 86: Puck learns he put the love juice on the wrong Athenian man.
  • page 88: Hermia thinks Demetrius has killed Lysander because she doesn’t believe he would ever leave her.
  • page 93: Puck puts the love juice on Demetrius’ eyes while he sleeps.
  • page 94: Demetrius wakes up and falls instantly in love with Helena. Now the two men that were fighting over Hermia are both in love with Helena.
  • page 96: Helena thinks everyone is playing a cruel joke on her.
  • page 106, 108: Hermia and Helena throw insults each other; fight over the boys; Hermia thinks Helena is making fun of her for being short
  • page 111: Oberon blames Puck for messing up the Athenians’ love lives
  • page 113: Oberon tells Puck to create a fog in the forest, confuse the two men into thinking they are threatening each other, lead all four Athenians to sleep and then use the flower juice
  • 119 and 121: The four Athenians are now all asleep, Puck puts love juice on Lysander’s eyelids

Act 4

Scene 1

  • page 127: We learn Oberon gets the Indian boy from Titania, so he is happy and willing to reverse the potion/ will also change Bottom’s head back
  • page 129: Titania wakes up, says she had a strange dream, hates Bottom when she sees him and thinks he is ugly
  • page 133: Theseus, Hippolyta, and Egeus find the sleeping Athenians
  • page 135: The Athenians all explain that they feel as if they are half-asleep and that they have had strange dreams
  • page 137: Demetrius pledges his love to Helena (remember the second love juice was put on Lysander not him)/ Theseus overrules Egeus and says the couples will be married to who they love
  • page 139: Bottom wakes up and also thinks he had a weird dream

Scene 2

  • page 143: The players are freaking out because they think they have lost Bottom and can’t perform
  • page 145: Bottom and the other players are reunited

Act 5

Scene 1

  • The players put on their ridiculous mess of a play for the happy couples. The couples laugh at them but generally like it.
  • page 179: Titania and Oberon bless the couples’ marriages
  • page 180: Puck breaks the fourth wall and ends the play by saying he is sorry if the play has offended you and that if you didn’t like it, it was only a dream and that there will be other plays you may like better.

Comedy

  • low comedy: physical comedy, easy to understand (ex. funny dancing)
  • farce: plot devices like mistimings, coincidences, and mistaken identities (ex. all characters meeting up in the same forest)
  • comedy of manners: humor in words, clever insults, witty characters, etc. (ex. tragic comedy)
  • comedy of ideas: satire, characters arguing about important issues like politics and religion (ex. film version suggesting America is better than Italy)