A Midsummer Night’s Dream

Written by William Shakespeare. Incidental music by Felix Mendelssohn (Op.

Dramatis PersonÊ:

Theseus, Duke of Athens
Egeus, Father to Hermia
Demetrius, in love with Hermia
Philostrate, Master of the Revels to Theseus
Quince, a carpenter
Snug, a joiner
Bottom, a weaver
Flute, a bellows-mender
Snout, a tinker
Starveling, a tailor
Hippolyta, Queen of The Amazons, betrothed to Theseus
Hermia, daughter to Egeus, in love with Lysander
Helena, in love with Demetrius
Oberon, King of the Fairies
Titania, Queen of the Fairies
Puck, or Robin Goodfellow
Mustard-Seed, Faires


Egeus orders his daughter Hermia to marry Demetrius; she refuses because she
and Lysander are in love. Her friend Helena is in love with Demetrius, who once
loved her but now does not. Under the law of Athens, Duke Theseus gives Hermia
four days to obey her father on pain of death or confinement to a nunnery.
Hermia and Lysander escape this harsh law by running away to the woods.
Demetrius pursues them there, with Helena pursing him. In the woods, Oberon and
Titania, King and Queen of fairies, have quarreled because Titania refuses to
hand over an Indian changeling boy to be Oberon’s page. Oberon instructs the
mischievous Puck, Robin Goodfellow, to press the juice of a magic flower on
Titania’s eyes as she sleeps; it will make her fall in love with the
first being she sees on waking. In an attempt to reconcile The dangerous
eroticism of the play, with a queen kissing a humble weaver who wears the ears
of an ass, was further emphasized in Michael Boyd’s 1999 production, with
Josette Simon as Titania and Daniel Ryan as Bottom, Demetrius and Helena,
Oberon orders that juice should be put on his eyes whilst he is sleeping and
she is near, but Robin mistakenly puts it on Lysander, who thus falls in love
with Helena. She thinks she is being mocked. Love-juice is then placed on
Demetrius’ eyes in order to rectify the mistake, but the result is that
he too falls for Helena. The boys fight over her and the girls quarrel. While
Titania has been sleeping, a company of Athenian artisans under the leadership
of Peter Quince has come to the wood to rehearse a play for the ensuing wedding
festivities of Duke Theseus and Hippolyta, Queen of the Amazons. Robin puts an
ass’s head on Bottom the weaver and because of the love-juice Titania
falls in love with him. Eventually all is restored to right and the artisans
perform their comically tragic play of ‘Pyramus and Thisbe’.

[Summary Source: RSC

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complete play

image_description=Fairy Songs by Arthur Rackham (1867-1939)
first_audio_name=A Midsummer Night’s Dream
product_title=A Midsummer Night’s Dream
product_by=Oberon/Theseus: Martin Turner; Titania/Hippolyta: Melanie Jessop: Lysander/Flute: Alex Hassell; Demetrius/Starveling: Daniel Rigby; Helena/Snug: Catherine Bailey; Puck/Snout: James Garnon; Bottom/Egeus: John Paul Connolly; Hermia/Quince/First Fairy: Elena Pavli. Ladies’ Choir of the Enlightenment. Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment. Charles Hazlewood (conductor). Directed by Tim Carroll. Live broadcast, 10 May 2009.
product_id=Above: Fairy Songs by Arthur Rackham (1867-1939)