This unique tale blends humor, fantasy, and romance into one enthralling play. Written by Shakespeare around 1595, A Midsummer Night's Dream has become a favorite of many actors and lovers of theater. It features devious fairies, young people in love, and a play within a play.
Despite being one of Shakespeare's most popular works, A Midsummer Night's Dream can be a tough play to follow. It contains four plots, and as Puck's work unfolds, things can get a little strange. With the help of these activities, your students will master this comedy and become pros with Shakespeare!
A Midsummer Night's Dream by William Shakespeare is a fanciful comedy centered around Puck (also called Robin Goodfellow), a magical fairy-like creature. The play begins with the Duke of Athens preparing to wed the Queen of the Amazons. During preparations for the festival, two young men, Demetrius, and Lysander meet a young nobleman’s daughter, Hermia. Both men fall in love with her, but her father only gives her permission to marry Demetrius. However, it is Lysander that Hermia loves. She makes plans to run away with Lysander and tells her best friend, Helena. Unbeknownst to Hermia, Helena is in love with Demetrius, and plans to tell him in hopes of winning him over.
Meanwhile, Puck is sent on a quest by Oberon, King of the Fairies, to find a magical Cupid-like flower so that he can punish Titania, the Queen of the Fairies, and force her to give him a changeling for his servant. When the flower is sprinkled on a sleeping person's eyelids, they will fall desperately in love with the first thing they see when they wake up. Puck uses the flower on Titania, who wakes up to see a hapless basket-weaver and actor, Bottom, whose face has been turned into that of a donkey. Due to the mischievous nature of fairies, issues again arise when Puck tries to intervene with the predicaments of Hermia, Helena, Demetrius, and Lysander, who have all run away to the forest. After sprinkling dust in each of the men's eyes, they both fall in love with Helena, forgetting Hermia. This creates intense jealousy between the women, and renewed rivalry between the men, who challenge each other to a fight in order to win Helena.
After some time, Puck is forced to fix his mistakes. However, while rectifying things, Demetrius truly falls in love with Helena. At this time, the Duke of Athens arrives, finding the lovers in the woods, and is told the story. He insists that they are all wed during his wedding ceremony. After the wedding, Bottom's troupe performs a comical version of a play, Pyramus and Thisbe. In the end, only Puck remains on stage. He begs the audiences' forgiveness for his embarrassing mistakes and prays everyone remembers the play as if it were only a dream.