Study Questions for A Midsummer Night’s Dream
Name: Daniel M. Tayts
Please answer the following questions in complete sentences on your own paper.
ACT I, SCENE I
1. How is Hippolyta’s reasoning concerning how quickly the next four days will pass different from that of Theseus? Note how Shakespeare portrays the patience and calmness of Hippolyta in contrast to the impatience and need for action of Theseus. Hippolyta believe that the next four days will pass very quickly. Theseus, on the other hand, is very impatient, and believes that the next four days will move by very slowly. He is extremely impatient, and wants to take action, without having to wait for so long. 2. Why has Egeus brought his daughter and her two suitors to Theseus? What does Egeus expect him to do? Egeus brought his daughter Hermia, along with the two men, Lysander and Demetrius. Unfortunately, Hermia refuses to marry Demetrius, because she is in love with Lysander. Egeus probably expects Theseus to execute Hermia for even thinking of defying her father’s and his own authority. 3. What was the proper role for women/daughters in Athenian society according to Egeus and Theseus? Egeus and Theseus seem to believe that all women should be obedient to men no matter what, and that they should be inferior caregivers or something along the lines of that. I can infer this from their actions; they both go along with a forced, arranged, and unwanted marriage. 4. What is Theseus’s ruling concerning Hermia?
Theseus directly tells Hermia to expect to be sent to a “nunnery,” or to be put to death, if she failed to comply with both his and Egeus’ demands. 5. How does Lysander’s comment about Demetrius’s previous love affair with Helena complicate things? It creates a lot more tension and drama. This causes Theseus to step out of the room with Egeus, Demetrius, and Hippolyta. 6. What do Lysander and Hermia plan to do about this seemingly impossible situation? They plan on running away to Lysander’s Aunt’s house, where they can get married, and be far away from Athens (where Athenian law has no jurisdiction).
7. Why do they tell Helena what they plan to do?
Because they know she will make Demetrius chase after them, and hopefully end up falling in love with Helena instead of Hermia. 8. Even though Helena loves Demetrius and is Hermia’s best friend, why does she decide to tell Demetrius of Hermia and Lysander’s plans? She tells this to Demetrius in hopes that he will chase after them. Then she may have a chance to “win back his love” during the journey.
ACT I, SCENE II
1. Why does Nick Bottom want to play all the parts?
Because he is selfish and wants a great deal of attention and recognition. 2. How do you suppose the threat of being handed if they scare the ladies will affect the artisans’ interpretation of the tragedy of Pyramus and Thisby? The pressure could cause them to make mistakes and let their feelings spill out of them unintentionally. 3. In what way is this scene funny? Why do you suppose Shakespeare included this scene? This scene is funny because of how eager Nick Bottom is to play all the parts, yet there is a lot of pressure to perform immaculately. This is irony at its finest. 4. Where are the actors to meet the following night? Who else is meeting in these same woods at the same time? The actors decide to meet again in the woods to rehearse. Puck and Oberon.
ACT II, SCENE I
1. What does the reader find out about the current relationship between Oberon, King of the Fairies, and Titania, Queen of the Fairies, from Puck and the first fairy? The reader finds out that there is a great deal of tension and conflict in theit relationship. 2. How have Oberon and Titania been involved in the past with Theseus and Hippolyta, and why have they come to Athens? They have come to Athens in order to witness the wedding of Theseus and Hippolyta. 3. What effect has their quarrel had on nature, on the seasons, on humans? Their fight caused everything...
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