A Midsummer Night’s Dream is a romantic comedy written by William Shakespeare. It deals with the feelings of love and marriage as well as the laws and social order of the time. The story contains fairies and other mystical creatures who take it upon themselves to guide the mortals in the directions they think necessary. This leads to many hilarious situations and misfortunes for humans.
There are many characters in the play and, for the most part, each one is in love with one of the other characters. The play starts with Theseus, the Duke of Athens, proposing to Hippolyta, the queen of the Amazons. This is the only couple throughout the play who seem to never waver in their love for each other. These two seem to have a perfect love for each other, much like the love Hermia and Lysander have for each other before the fairies intervene.
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The other couple in the story that are of royal blood is Oberon, the king of the fairies, and Titania, the queen of the fairies. These two are having a lovers quarrel which has sent the seasons out of order and caused the great disorder. Oberon is in love with Hippolyta and Titania is in love with Theseus. Their lover’s quarrels provide much of the comedy in the play.
The other four characters caught in love triangles are Lysander and Hermia, who is in love with each other, Demetrius who loves Hermia, and Helena who loves Demetrius. Lysander and Hermia wish to marry each other but Hermia’s father, Egeus, will not allow it. Egeus wishes his daughter to marry Demetrius so he brings the matter to the attention of the king in hope that the law will be enforced. The law states that Hermia must marry whomever her father chooses or be put to death or live the rest of her life as a nun. She is given until the next full moon to decide.
Lysander suggests to Hermia that they run away into the woods together. This is where the rest of the play takes place. Lysander and Hermia flee into the woods pursued by Demetrius who is being pursued by Helena. Once in the woods, the lovers find themselves at the mercy of the fairies.
The king of the fairies, Oberon, is planning to place a love potion on the queen of the fairies, Titania. He also plans to put the potion on Demetrius so that he will return Helena’s love, but he sends his servant Puck to cast the spell and it gets placed upon Lysander instead. Oberon places the spell on Titania as well so that the first creature she lays her eyes on might be a disgusting one. Puck sees a group of men practising a play for the king and queens wedding and cannot restrain himself from causing a little mischief. Puck changes one of the guy’s heads, Bottom, into an asses head. Titania eventually wakes to fall in love with Bottom.
Oberon finds out that Titania has fallen in love with Bottom and is pleased, but he is not pleased that Lysander is now in love with Helena. Oberon places the potion on Demetrius as well who also falls in love with Helena. Helena does not know what to do because she thinks that Demetrius, Lysander and Hermia are all three plotting against her. Hermia thinks that Helena has done something to steal Lysander from her. All the while Titania is in love with Bottom.
Oberon eventually grows tired of all the mischief that has been caused and removes the spells from Lysander and Titania. Oberon and Titania makeup and order are restored to the seasons. The two new couples return to Thesus and profess that Demetrius no longer wants Hermia but Helena. Thesus declares that Hermia is wed to Lysander and Helena to Demetrius at his wedding at once.
As the play comes to an end we witness a play within a play. It is the story of two more lovers Pyramus and Thisbe. This play is put on by the same group of men who witnessed their friend Bottom turned into an ass, who has since been turned back to normal. The actors are terrible at acting, but never the less put on a wonderful show. The play within the play further promotes the theme of the play. Overall A Midsummer Night’s Dream was a wonderful comedy and I enjoyed it very much.
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