A Midsummer Night's Dream - Act 1 Moon Images

Brooke and Angela
A Midsummer Night's Dream - Act 2 Scene Scene 2

Brooke, Luka, Amardeep
A Midsummer Night's Dream - Act 3 - Seeing

Brooke and Amardeep
I Midsummer Night's Dream - Act 4 - Bottom's Dream

Act I, Scene 1

1. How is Hippolyta’s reasoning concerning how quickly the next four days will pass different from that of Theseus?
Hippolyta is patient and exclaims that the four days "will quickly dream away." Theseus on the other hand wants to get the four days over with and says "How slow this old moon wanes."

2. Why has Egeus brought his daughter and her two suitors to Theseus? What does Egeus expect him to do?
He wants Theseus to allow him to kill his daughter if she disobeys his orders to marry Demetrius.

3. What was the proper role for women/daughters in Athenian society according to Egeus and Theseus? What is Theseus’s ruling concerning Hermia?
They were to listen and obey their father's. And then once married, to obey their husband. Theseus's rule is that she must marry Demetrius or she would be killed or sent to a nunnery.

4. How does Lysander’s comment about Demetrius’s previous love affair with Helena complicate things?
Lysander comments that Demetrius is an inconsistent lover because he left Helena and so he brings up the point that he might be inconsistent with Hermia as well.

5. What do Lysander and Hermia plan to do about this seemingly impossible situation? Why do they tell Helena?
They plan to run away to Lysander's Aunt's house. They tell Helena because they have been friends for a long time, and trust her.

6. 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 hopes it will make Demetrius love her. She loves Demetrius more than she respects her friendship with Hermia, her best friend.

7. Identify Hermia’s basic dilemma. What are the choices outlined for her by Theseus and her father? What other choice does Lysander suggest?
Hermia's dilemma is that she is in love with someone but must marry another man that she has no feelings for. Her choices are marrying a man she does not love, getting killed, or going to a nunnery. Lysander suggest they run away and get married.

Act I, Scene 2

8. Why does Nick Bottom want to play all the parts?
He believes is the best actor, and better than all the other actors.

9. In what way is this scene funny? Why do you suppose Shakespeare included this scene?
The scene is funny because Nick Bottom makes a fool of himself, and yet makes fun of himself as well. He probably left this scene in to add humor to the play.

10. Where are the actors to meet the following night? Who else is meeting there at the same time?
They are meeting in the forest at the Duke's Oak. Hermia and Lysander are also meeting in there to run away.

11. How would you describe Bottom’s acting ability? What is Bottom’s own opinion of his acting ability?
He thinks he is the most amazing actor. Personally, I think he is a weak actor.

Act II, Scene 1

10. 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?
They fight every time they see each other. Also Oberon is very mad at Titania because she is looking after a changeling boy without Oberon's consent.

11. How have Oberon and Titania been involved in the past with Theseus and Hippolyta; why have they come to Athens?
Oberon and Hippolyta had a thing going on, and so did Titania and Theseus. They came to Athens to see Hippolyta and Theseus get married.

12. What effect has their quarrel had on nature, on the seasons, on humans?

It effects nature:
  • "Small streams have been flooded and over flown there banks."
  • "The fields have been ploughed and planted for no reason because of the rain."
  • "Crows have gotten fat eating all the drowned sheep and diseased cattle."
  • "The park walk-ways are overgrown with vegetation."

13. Why won’t Titania give up the changeling to Oberon?
She had promised the boy's mother (Titania was close friends with the mother, who is dead now) that she would protect and look after the boy.

14. What does Oberon send Puck to find?
The juice from pansies, which is supposed to make people fall in love with the first person or animal they see.

15. What are Oberon’s plans for Titania?
To make her fall in love with the first creature she sees.

16. How does Helena react to Demetrius’s verbal abuse?
She still loves him, she doesn't even care that he hates her.

17. What is her response to his threats of physical abuse?
She wouldn't mind because at least he would be paying attention to her.

18. In what way is Helena’s behavior inappropriate for Athenian women?

19. What does Oberon tell Puck to do about Demetrius and Helena?

He tells him to put the juice in Demetrius' eyes as well, so he falls in love with Helena.

Act II, Scene 2

20. Why does Oberon want Titania to wake and fall in love with some vile thing?
To get revenge. He doesn't like that he defied her and is keeping the boy.

21. Why does Hermia insist Lysander sleep a little ways from her?

So that they don't do something they shouldn't before marriage.

22. Why does Puck anoint Lysander’s eyes?
He thinks that he is the Athenian that Oberon was speaking of.

23. How does Helena react to Lysander’s sudden love for her when he awakens?
She thinks he is joking and making fun of her.

24. How is Hermia’s dream a reflection of reality?
In the dream Lysander is laughing at a snake which is eating Hermia's heart. It is a reflection of reality because Lysander has just fallen in love with Helena and he now longer even notices Hermia.

Act III, Scene 1

25. How are the actors going to keep from scaring the ladies when Pyramus kills himself or when the lion roars?

They are making a prologue in which they say who is playing the parts of each character.

26. How are the actors going to manage the setting/scenery such as the moonlight and the wall?
There is supposed to be a moon that night, so they will just open the window. The wall will be a person and they will hold their fingers in a certain way to represent a peephole.

27. Why do the rest of the actors run off when Bottom reappears?
They are scared at the horrible head Bottom has (the head of an ass).

28. What does Puck plan to do when he follows after the other actors?
He plans to frighten the actors.

29. How does Bottom react to Titania and the other fairies?

At first he is skeptical, but then relaxes and allows them to coddle him.

30. Bottom says, "…reason and love keep little company together nowadays." Why is this such an apt statement at this point in the play?
Everyone's love is being mixed up, and so there is no reason to any love going on.

Act III, Scene 2

31. What does Hermia accuse Demetrius of doing?
Killing Lysander.

32. How are Puck and Oberon going to correct Puck’s earlier mistake?

They will Demetruis's eyes so he will fall in love with Helena too.

33. Why is Helena upset when Demetrius says he loves her? Isn’t this what she had wanted all along?
She thinks they are all playing a cruel joke on her.

34. Of what does Helena accuse Hermia?
Taking part in the joke to jest about how no one loves Helena.

35. How close had Hermia and Helena been in the past?
They had been like sisters:

  • "Is all the counsel that we two have shared,
    The sisters' vows, the hours that we have spent,
    When we have chid the hasty-footed time"
  • "All school-days' friendship, childhood innocence"
  • "Have with our needles created both one flower,
    Both on one sampler, sitting on one cushion,
    Both warbling of one song, both in one key,
    As if our hands, our sides, voices and minds,
    Had been incorporate. So we grow together,
    Like to a double cherry, seeming parted,
    But yet an union in partition;
    Two lovely berries moulded on one stem;
    So, with two seeming bodies, but one heart;"

36. How does Lysander treat Hermia? Why can’t she believe what he say?
Lysander treats Hermia very coldly. He acts as though he hates her. She can't believe what he said because only "Since night you loved me; yet since night you left me." She doesn't understand how so quickly he hates her.

37. Of what does Hermia accuse Helena?
She accuses Helena or stealing her lover in the night by doing something to him.

38. Why is Helena afraid of Hermia?
Hermia says she will dig her nails into Helena's eyes because she is mad.

39. What are Lysander and Demetrius going off to do?
Fight for Helena's love.

40. What does Oberon tell Puck to do about the two young men?
Go lead them around by impersonating the other until they become too tired and fall alseep. Then he is to put the juice in Lysander's eyes so he will fall in love with Hermia again.

41. What is Oberon going to do about Titania?
He is going to undo the effect so she no longer loves an ass.

42. Why doesn’t Oberon fear the coming of day?
He is not like the spirits and other creatures who can endure the day.

43. How well does Puck’s trickery work?
It works well because both Lysander, Demetrius, Hermia, and Helena all fall asleep.

Review Question: The climax, or turning point, of A Midsummer Night’s Dream comes at the end of Act 3. In point form describe the major plot points of Act Three starting from when Titania falls in love with Bottom leading to the climax or turning point of the play near the end of act three.

  • Titania falls in love with Bottom
  • Hermia accuses Demetrius of killing Lysander
  • Puck anoints Demetrius's eye's
  • He falls in love with Helena
  • Lysander and Demetrius fight over Helena
  • Hermia and Helena fight
  • They all fall asleep
  • Puck anoints Demetrius's eye's again

Act IV, Scene 1
44. How has Bottom adjusted to the attention of Titania and her fairies?

He love sit, and treats them like his own servants ordering them around.

45. What is Oberon’s reaction to Titania’s infatuation with Bottom?
He becomes jealous.

46. What sort of explanation will Oberon make to Titania’s question about what happened to her?
He says it was a bad dream.

47. Why are Theseus, Hippolyta, Egeus, and the others out in the woods so early in the morning?
There is a hunt.

48. What is Theseus’s first explanation of why the young people are asleep in the woods?
To celebrate their manhood because he is getting married today!

49. What explanation does Demetrius make? Why does he compare his love for Hermia to an illness?
He says that he once again loves Helena, and no longer Hermia. His love for Hermia is like a sickness because when you are sick sometimes you dislike something (Helena) but when you are healthy you like it again. He is saying he is 'healthy again.'

50. What is Theseus’s decision concerning the four young people?
He decides to let them marry their lovers at his wedding.

51. Why can’t the young people be sure whether they are awake or dreaming?
It seems very unrealistic, but they all had the same dream... Which is a strange coincedence.

52. Bottom believes he too has had a dream. How is he going to use that to entertain the Duke?
He will get Quince to write him a sonnet called Bottom's Dream.

Act IV, Scene 2
53. What opinion do the other artisans now have of Bottom since they think he is lost?

  • " It is not possible: you have not a man in all Athens able to discharge Pyramus but he"
  • " No, he hath simply the best wit of any handicraft man in Athens"
  • " Yea, and the best person too; and he is a very paramour for a sweet voice"

54. What do they most regret losing by not being able to perform the play?
Not getting the money they would have been payed for performing.

55. Why must the artisans hurry to the Duke’s palace?
The couples have all been married, and they have to hurry so they can perform.

Extending the thought process.
a) The fourth act opens and ends with Bottom at center stage. What is your opinion of Bottom’s character? How might he be the antithesis, or opposite, of Theseus’s character?
Bottom's character is an arrogant over confident type. He needs the attention of others and by wanting it so badly, sometimes acts like an ass. He's quite opposite of Theseus because Theseus is more reserved. Since he is King, he is watched more carefully and it wold not be suitable for him to act so boisterously.

b) How do most of the dreamers respond to the dream experience upon waking? Which character is changed permanently by the dream experience?
They first believe it was a dream, but upon realizing they all had the same dream they are confused. Demetrius is changed permanently because he is now in love with Helena.

c) In this act, several characters look back at prior infatuations with disbelief. What do you think Shakespeare is saying about love and infatuation?
He is saying the infatuation isn't as strong as love can be and that it can't hold you for very long.

Act V

56. Why does Theseus dismiss the stories of the four young people?

57. Why does Theseus choose to see the play about Pyramus and Thisby rather than the other entertainments?
He thinks it will be entertaining and he has also seen the other ones.

58. Why does Philostrate try to keep Theseus from seeing the play? What does he say is wrong with it?
He thinks it is a joke, and the actors are horrible. "He could shed a tear when Thisbe dies, but he shed a tear because of how bad the acting was."

59. What does Theseus mean by the lines, "For never anything can be amiss, when simpleness and duty tender it"?
He means that as long as they are being true and sincere there is nothing wrong with it.

60. What is accomplished by having the Prologue tell the whole story that the actors are then going to enact?
It explains that the actors won't actually be killing themselves and that the lion is a person.

61. How does Shakespeare use comments from the audience to enhance the humour of the play that they are watching?
It makes the actors have different emotions. For example, at one point Bottom comes out of character to answer what the audience was saying.

62. What is Hippolyta’s reaction to the play?
She pity's the actors and their feeble play.

63. In what way is Thisby’s final speech humorous?
He is so sincere and the rhythm in which he says Adieu, Adieu, Adieu, is very stinted and funny.

64. What does Oberon tell the fairies to do?
Bless the marriage beds.

65. What is the purpose of Puck’s final speech?
He apologizes for the mistakes he made, and tells the audience that if they likes it tell your friends, but if you disliked it, think of it as a dream!

Extending the thought process:

FInd at least one example of each of the following that occurs during the play within the play. Write down the quote that illustrates example.
excessive alliteration:
"Whereat, with blade, with bloody blameful blade,
He bravely broach'd is boiling bloody breast"
breaking the play’s illusion of reality:
Pyramus: Cursed be thy stones for thus deceiving me! Theseus: The wall, methinks, being sensible, should curse again. Pyramus: No, in truth sir, he should not. "Decieving me" is Thisby's cue:she is to enter now, and I am to spy her through the wall.
using the wrong word or name: "Not Shafalus to Procrus was so true."
repeating a word excessively: "Now die, die, die, die, die."
ridiculous metaphor: "To spy an I can hear my Thisby's face. Thisby!"

a) In reading the play-within-a-play, we become the audience for the drama played out by Theseus, Hippolyta, and the others. These performers, in turn, form the audience for the reenactment of Pyramus and Thisbe. How does observing another audience help you understand the relationship between audience and performers?

b) Modern television shows often create comic effects by having a silly, innocent, or “clueless” character and a sarcastic, knowing, clever character play off of each other. What examples can you think of?

c) Identify ways in which Pyramus and Thisbe might be unsuitable for a wedding celebration. Are there any ways in which the play might be appropriate? In what ways is the play-within-a-play an ironic commentary on what the two pairs of young lovers (Demetrius and Helena, Lysander and Hermia) have gone through earlier?