Hippolyta, the queen of the Amazons, as well as Theseus, the duke of the Athens is preparing their marriage that is expected to last for four days (1.1.2-10). He, therefore, orders one of his servants, Philostrate, to find the necessary requirements that will be required in gracing the occasion. After Philostrate leaves, Egeus, an Athenian aristocrat steps into the duke’s court, with his daughter Hernia, and two young men, Demetrius and Lysander. Egeus brings a complaint to the duke because, according to him, he wants his daughter to get married to Demetrius. However, Hernia is in love with Lysander. This leads to the father-daughter disagreement that could make Hernia face a consequence to the law if she does not comply.
To the duke, this is a form of disobedience to one’s parents; thus she advices her to follow her father’s decisions, of which she is adamant. As a result, the two lovers, Hernia and Lysander formulate a plan to run out of the village during the night to travel to Lysander’s aunt place, so as to get married (1.1 134) To ensure the safety of their plan, they decide to tell Helena, an ex-lover of Demetrius of their availed plan. However, Demetrius follows the duo into the forest, with Helena by their side secretly.
In the forest, they come across a group of pixies, including their king, Oberon, and Titania, who has come to bless the Duke’s marriage. Titania and Oberon also have a dispute based on the Indian Prince whom, their mother wanted Titania to marry. Thus, he orders Puck a fairy, which has magical flowers, whose fluid is a love potion, to spread it on Titania’s eyelids (2.1.24). However, Helena picks the flower and squeezes its fluid on the eyelids of Lysander, making him fall in love with her. This angers Hernia; thus she decides to take back (3.1.25) However, as they progress in their journey, Puck produces sounds similar to them, thus leading to their confusion.
This makes them fall asleep, such that when they get up, Theseus and Hippolyta catch them. Finally, Helena gets married to Demetrius, and hernia to Lysander. Puck remembers to seek forgiveness for the mistake made.
The play comprises of several characters including like Theseus- the duke of Athens who intends to marry the Queen of the Amazon, Hippolyta.
Puck, the fairy that created the confusion in the woods using the magical flower it had, thus forming a major part in the story.
Titania -is the queen of the fairies, who were to bless the Duke’s marriage.
Oberon – the king of the fairies, and is known for the disagreement with Titania. This is based on the issue about the Indian Prince.
Lysander – the man in love with Hernia; However, he cannot marry her as he is not the choice of Hernia’s father.
Demetrius – is the husband choice of marriage, by Hernia’s father. However, he cannot marry Hernia as she does not love him.
Hernia – the daughter of Egeus. She cannot marry the man of her choice due to her father’s thoughts.
Helena – is Demetrius ex-lover. She is the person to whom the eloping secrets are exposed.
Egeus – is Hernia’s father. He has a total authority over his daughter and wants her to do what he wishes.
Hippolyta – the Queen of the Amazon expected to marry Theseus.
Philostrate – is the organiser of the duke’s festivities.
Pease blossom, Cobweb, Mote, and Mustard seed- the fairies ordered by Titania to attend the blossom.
Snug-the person chosen to play the role of the lion in the play of the artisans.
Nick Bottom – the overoptimistic weaver, who plays Pyramus in the artisans’ play.
The love potion
This is the fluid made from a magical flower. The fairies in ensuring their love games are met use it. As in the case of the play, the fairy, Puck, does not take care in handling it. The love potion is, therefore, a symbol of lack of reasoning, inconsistent, and uneven nature of love, which can lead to one’s uncontrollable behaviour. (2.1.15)
Theseus and Hippolyta
They appear at the start and the end of the scenes in the play. Theseus represents authority s seen in order that he displays in the scenes of the play, being the overall ruler. This is hidden from the wrongdoing mentioned having been happening in the other acts of the play. Their appearance and disappearance in the play also symbolises the start and culmination of the dream respectively.
Theseus use the rose flower to describe the life stages that one undergoes (1.1.7) this she tells to Hernia on the basis of her getting married or not. According to him, when one dies a virgin, they are like roses that wither. On the contrary, if one accepts to get married, she will blossom like a fresh rose, due to the children that she will bear.
‘But earthlier happy is the rose distill’d,
Than that which withering on the virgin thorn
Grows, lives and dies in single blessedness’
The moon symbolises the period over which activities take place. Theseus complains about it as he sees as if his marriage time is not drawing nearer (1.1.1)
’ Now, fair Hippolyta, our nuptial hour
Draws on apace; four happy days bring in
Another moon: but, O, methinks, how slow
This old moon wanes! she lingers my desires.’
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