A Midsummer Night's Dream


Act 2

Summary: Act II, scene i

Act II begins in the woods outside the city. Puck, a servant of the fairy king Oberon, encounters another fairy, a servant of the fairy queen Titania. Puck warns the other fairy to keep Titania away from Oberon, for the fairy king is angry with his wife. Titania has refused to give Oberon a young Indian boy in her charge, whom Oberon desires to make one of his own knights. Titania’s servant identifies Puck as “Robin Goodfellow,” Oberon’s jester, famous for the amusing tricks he plays on mortals. Puck proudly acknowledges his identity and brags about some of his pranks. Suddenly, Puck observes that Oberon is entering the glade. At the same time, Titania enters the scene. Titania’s fairy worries that the encounter does not bode well for the fairy queen.

Oberon and Titania begin to argue. Titania accuses Oberon of being in love with Hippolyta; in turn, Oberon jealously accuses Titania of being in love with Theseus. They argue over the Indian boy whom Oberon wants to make into one of his knights. Titania says that she will not give Oberon the boy because she was close to his mother. When his mother died in giving birth to him, Titania promised to raise the boy as her own. Titania exits defiantly.

Oberon summons Puck and enlists him in a scheme to get the boy away from Titania. He sends Puck to find a magical flower, the dew of which can be placed upon a sleeping person’s eyes to cause her to fall in love with whomever she first sees upon waking. Oberon plans to force Titania to fall in love with a forest animal and then refuse to release her from the spell until she has given up the boy. Puck exits, leaving Oberon alone onstage.

Demetrius enters, in pursuit of Hermia, whom he knows has eloped with Lysander and is somewhere in the woods. The lovesick Helena is following Demetrius. Oberon is invisible to their eyes. He observes Demetrius speaking very cruelly to Helena, even threatening to hurt her if she will not stop following him. Oberon takes pity on the jilted young...

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