You are on page 1of 3

Theseus, Duke of Athens, and Queen Hippolyta are discussing their forthcoming

marriage when Egeus enters to demand that his daughter Hermia be forced to
marry Demetrius, the man he has chosen for her, rather than Lysander, the man
Hermia wishes to marry. Theseus tells Hermia that she must obey her father or else
Athenian law will condemn her to death or to a life in a nunnery. Hermia and
Lysander are so desperate that they decide to run away through the woods and get
married in secret. When Hermia's best friend Helena hears of their plan to elope,
she decides to tell Demetrius in the hope that he will look more kindly on her.
Demetrius had once been in love with her before he lost his heart to Hermia.
In the woods, Oberon, King of the Fairies, is furious with his wife Titania because he
wants the changeling child that she keeps with her. To get revenge on her, Oberon
sends his fairy servant Puck to find a special magic flower, the juice of which will
make someone fall in love with the first living creature that they see. Oberon puts
the juice on Titania 's eyes and orders Puck to anoint the eyes of Demetrius so that
he will once again fall in love with Helena. But Puck mistakenly anoints the eyes of
Lysander who, when he wakes, sees and falls in love with Helena, abandoning
Hermia, his true love.
Some workmen (Mechanicals) have also come into the wood to rehearse their play,
which they hope will be chosen to be performed at Duke Theseus's wedding. When
Puck sees them, he mischievously transforms Bottom 's head into that of a donkey,
causing the other workmen to run away in terror. Titania then awakes and promptly
falls in love with him. Meanwhile, Oberon has anointed Demetrius 's eyes as
originally intended, so that both young men now passionately adore Helena , not
Hermia ! Oberon orders Puck to put all four lovers to sleep and take the charm off
Lysander 's eyes so that he will once again love Hermia. Then, when Titania gives
him the changeling child, he removes the charm from her eyes too and tells Puck to
give Bottom back his proper human head.
The next morning, when Theseus and Hippolyta are out hunting, they discover the
sleeping lovers in the woods. On learning that Demetrius no longer loves Hermia but
wishes to marry Helena, the duke decides that the two couples should be married
along with him and Hippolyta. After the triple marriage ceremony, the Mechanicals
present their play about the tragic love of Pyramus and Thisbe to everyone's
enjoyment. After the court have retired to bed, the mischievous Puck appears, then
Oberon and his wife Titania with their attendant fairies also appear and bless
Theseus's house and the three marriages. Puck ends the play by asking the
audience's pardon, 'If we shadows have offended'.

An angry father brings his daughter, Hermia, before Duke Theseus to make her
marry Demetrius, whom she is refusing to marry because she is in love with
Lysander. The Duke tells Hermia that she must marry Demetrius or become a nun,
so she decides to run away with Lysander to a place outside of Athens where they
can be married secretly. Helena, who is in love with Demetrius, tells him of the plan
so that he will forget Hermia and marry her instead, but he runs off into the woods
to find Hermia.
A group of amateur actors meet to rehearse a play to perform at Theseus's
wedding; they decide that they will rehearse in the woods at night so no one will
see them.
The king and queen of the fairies, Oberon and Titania, meet in the woods and
quarrel over the ownership of a changeling boy: Titania says that he belongs to her
because his mother was her good friend. Oberon decides to take revenge on Titania
by using juice from a magic flower to make her fall in love with the first person she
sees when she wakes. He also tells Puck to use the juice on the eyelids of the
sleeping Demetrius so that when he wakes he will fall in love with Helena.
Oberon successfully puts the flower juice on Titania's eyelids while she sleeps, but
Puck gets mixed up and puts the flower juice on Lysander's eyelids by mistake.
When Lysander wakes, the first person he sees is Helena: he falls madly in love with
her and abandons Hermia.
Puck plays a trick on the actors who are rehearsing their play in the woods and
turns Bottom's head into an ass's head, which scares his friends away. Bottom sings
to keep up his spirits and wakes the sleeping Titania: he then becomes the object of
her love.
Because of Puck's mistake in using the flower juice on Lysander, Oberon puts the
flower juice on Demetrius and there is general confusion as both young men pursue
Helena, abandoning Hermia. When Hermia sees this she is horrified, and Helena
thinks they are all playing a joke on her and storms off, while the two men leave to
fight a duel.
Oberon removes the enchantment from Titania and is reconciled with his wife, and
Bottom's head is restored to its natural state. The four young people have calmed
down and the enchantment has been removed from them, too. Demetrius is in love
with Helena and Lysander is back in love with Hermia.
Bottom joins the rest of the actors and they get ready to perform in front of Duke
Theseus and his new wife.
To celebrate the weddings that have taken place, the actors perform a play for Duke
Theseus and cause much laughter because of their incompetence and hilarious
mistakes. As the play ends, Oberon and Titania enter the Duke's palace to bless the

three couples, and Puck asks the audience to pardon them if they have given any
offence.