AMSND Study Guide

Topics: A Midsummer Night's Dream, Titania, Puck Pages: 5 (1616 words) Published: September 24, 2013

A Midsummer Night’s Dream
Study Guide

1. In A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Shakespeare interweaves four plots involving four groups of characters: the court party of Theseus, the four young lovers, the fairies, and the “rude mechanicals” or would-be actors. Briefly summarize each plot, identifying the characters involved, the conflict(s), and the outcome of each conflict.

The first plot in the play is the court party of Theseus; Theseus the duke of Athens is preparing to marry Hippolyta, the queen of the Amazons, after he won her in battle. He plans to have four days of merriment and amusement and arranges for some entertainment. During this Egeus, one of the noblemen, arrives asking Theseus to punish his daughter Hermia if she refuses to marry Demetrius in favor of the man loves, Lysander.

The second plot is that of the four young lovers. Hermia is in love with Lysander,who returns her feelings, but she is betrothed to Demetrius. Demetrius is also in love with Hermia and at the same time is trying to fend off Helena who is in love with him after he played with her heart. Hermia and Lysander plan to elope to his aunt’s house which is out of the kingdom and will protect them from Theseus’s law. Helena and Demetrius go after them into the forest.

In the forest, the fairy Puck accidently puts the love potion on Lysnader’s eyes instead of Demetrius’s resulting in Lysander falling in love with Helena. As the night goes on, Lysander and Demetrius both fall in love with Helena, who thinks that they are mocking her, and Hermia challenging Helena to a fight. In the end Puck fixes his mistake, Lysander once again loves Hermia and Demetrius falls for Helena. The two couples marry and go to watch the play.

The third plot involves the fairies. The fairy king and queen, Oberon and Titania, have returned to attend the wedding of Theseus and Hippolyta but are fighting over a small Indian boy. Oberon wants to make him a knight but Titania wants custody over the boy because she was close with his late mother. Angry at this, Oberon sends his servant Puck to spread love potion over Titania's eyes as a joke. Oberon also instructs him to do the same to Demtrius so that he will treat Helena better. Puck accidently puts the love potion on Lysander instead but succeeds with Titania. Puck also plays a break on the most foolish of the acting troupe, Nick Bottom, and turns his head into that of a donkey, who Titania ends up falling in love with. Eventually, Puck rights his mistake, Oberon obtains the boy, and Titania comes out of the spell.

The fourth plot is that of the acting troupe. The actors are simple crafts-men who are going to be putting on the tragic play of Pyramus and Thisbe for the wedding party. One of the actors, Nick Bottom, gets his head transformed into a donkey by the fairy Puck and ends up in a love affair with the fairy queen Titania. In the end Bottom is transformed back and he and the rest of the actors but on a rather ridiculous performance of Pyramus and Thisbe.

2. Identify the dynamic characters of the play, explaining how they experienced permanent change over the course of the play.
Only a few of the characters in this play who actually experience permanent change, I feel, are Bottom, Oberon, and Titania. Nick Bottom is the central character of the subplot featuring the acting troupe that will be performing at the wedding party. He is also the only one of the mortals to have direct contact with the fairies. Bottom is loud, disruptive, and overconfident in his abilities, during casting for the play he believes that he can play all of the characters. In reality he is a terrible actor and often makes mistakes in his speech. He is not aware of his own incompetance, which is shown quite plainly when Puck transforms his head into that of a donkey and he, Bottom, doesn’t even notice. With his overconfidence Bottom is not surprised that the queen of the fairies would want to be with him. He does not...
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