A Midsummer Night's Dream

One of the best loved of Shakespeare's comedies is A Midsummer Night's Dream. Its slapstick humour, absurd events based on irrational jealousy, sexual tension, and cast of hilarious characters have meant that it has lasted better than, say, The Merchant of Venice, for the modern palate. It was written 1595-6 although the precise date is uncertain, and published in quarto form in 1600 and 1619. No single source for the play has been identified, but elements of Chaucer, Ovid and Apuleius's Golden Ass can be found. The main events of the drama occur in the woods, the precinct of the fairies, where four lovers find themselves after debate at the court of duke Theseus. The love rectangle (for want of a better term) involves Hermia who loves Lysander against her father's will, and Helena who loves Demetrius. These loves are requited but due to the intervention of the hapless fairy, Puck, they begin to fall apart. Oberon, king of the fairies, has quarrelled with his wife Titania and a certain love-juice has been made to remedy matters. It is this that causes all sorts of problems as the wrong men love the wrong women and vice versa to the confusion of all concerned and the delight of the audience who are in on every trick. Worse, Oberon puts the love-juice on Titania's eyelid and the first person she sees is the tradesman Bottom who has an ass's head (again thanks to Puck). After genuinely hilarious sequences where these fantasies are played out we get to see Bottom and his company of players do their unintentionally uproarious 'Pyramus and Thisbe' turn on stage as all is resolved with marriages as ever in Shakespearean comedy.

Table of contents
Dramatis Personae.
Act 1
Scene 1. Athens. The palace of THESEUS.
Scene 2. Athens. QUINCE'S house.
Act 2
Scene 1. A wood near Athens.
Scene 2. Another part of the wood.
Act 3
Scene 1. The wood. TITANIA lying asleep.
Scene 2. Another part of the wood.
Act 4
Scene 2. Athens. QUINCE'S house.
Act 5
Scene 1. Athens. The palace of THESEUS.

  By PanEris using Melati.

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