William Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream in the complete original text
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A Midsummer Night's Dream

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A Midsummer Night's Dream Play

A Midsummer Night's Dream begins with two sets of lovers, Lysander and Hermia and Helena and Demetrius. Unfortunately for Helena, Demetrius no longer loves Helena, instead falling for Hermia. Hermia's father Egeus however, wants Hermia to marry Demetrius. Unable to change his daughter's mind, Egeus calls upon The Duke of Athens, Theseus to ensure Hermia marries Demetrius. Theseus himself will marry Hippolyta, the Queen of the Amazons in four days time. This results in Hermia being given a choice under the Athenian law; marry Demetrius, become a nun or face death. She has four days to decide. Not needing one, Hermia instead flees into the nearby forest with her one true love, Lysander who tells her they can travel to his aunt's house and marry.

Meanwhile, there is discord in the forest. The King and Queen of the Fairies, Oberon and Titania are fighting over an orphan. Oberon wants the boy to be his page; Titania disagrees. Oberon accuses Titania of loving Theseus, Titania accusing Oberon of loving Hippolyta. Now, Oberon sneekily instructs Puck a minion of his, to bring him a flower from Cupid that will make the holder fall in love with the first person they see... Oberon hopes Titania will love a monster thus allowing him to obtain the orphan. Oberon will have a flower placed on Titania whilst she sleeps, making her fall in love with the first person she sees.

Like Hermia and Lysander, Helena and Demetrius too are now in the forest. Helena told Demetrius of Hernia's flight, Demetrius running into the forest to find her. . . Oberon feels sorry for Helena when he hears Demetrius reject her and so tells Puck to place a flower on Demetrius also, ensuring Demetrius will fall in love with Helena again. Predictably, Puck places a flower on Lysander instead of Demetrius. Unfortunately, Helena not Hermia is the first person Lysander sees, Lysander instantly falling in love with Helena, devastating Hermia whom Lysander now rejects.

Meanwhile, a group of men are practicing for a play for the Duke's upcoming wedding, named "Pyramus and Thisbe." Mischieviously, Puck puts a spell on Bottom, one of these men, giving him the head of an ass (Donkey). By chance, Titania awakens to see Bottom, falling deeply in love with the ass, to Oberon's intense amusement. However Oberon, seeing Helena still without her Demetrius, decides to remedy the situation, placing the flower on Demetrius himself and taking pains to ensure Helena is the first person Demetrius sees. Helena though, is not sure what to think; having both Demetrius and Lysander in love with her; she suspects she is being made fun of... Hermia appears, Helena accusing her of collusion with the two men to humiliate her. Realising Puck's mistake, Oberon has Puck create a fog allowing the four to be separated and placed to sleep so the spell can finally wear off.

Oberon now administers an antidote to the magic to Lysander so he will once more love Hermia not Helena as he did under the spell. Oberon also cures Titania of her love of Bottom, Oberon and Titania finally making peace. The four lovers and Bottom leave the forest believing this to all have been a midsummer nights dream. The tedious play is performed at the wedding feast, Lysander and Hermia, Demetrius and Helena and Theseus and Hippolta marrying. The play ends with fairies casting blessings and Puck delivering a soliloquy.


Dramatis Personæ

Act I
Scene I, Scene II

Act II
Scene I, Scene II

Scene I, Scene II

Act IV
Scene I, Scene II

Act V
Scene I, Scene II
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