A Midsummer Night’s Dream play starts and ends in medieval Athens at a time when the atmosphere is one of celebration and love, as the Duke, Theseus, prepares to marry the Amazon Queen, Hippolyta. The action moves to nearby woods, inhabited by fairies. The human beings and the fairies act out a drama in which human emotions become subject to the spells and manipulations of the fairies. Read more about A Midsummer Night’s Dream settings.

Date written: 1590-1596

Genre classification: A Midsummer Night’s is regarded as a comedy.

Read the full, original A Midsummer Night’s Dream text

Read A Midsummer Night’s Dream in simple, modern English

A Midsummer Night’s Dream Characters: Theseus is the Duke of Athens, preparing for his wedding. The bride is the Amazon Queen, Hippolyta. There are four lovers, who are central to the action: Hermia, Helena, Lysander and DemetriusEgeus is Hermia’s father. Philostrate has been put in charge of the wedding arrangements.

There is a group of Athenian ‘rustics’, rehearsing for a play to be performed at the wedding. They are Nick Bottom, a weaver; Peter Quince, a carpenter and leader of the group; Francis Flute, a bellows mender; Tom Snout, a tinker; Snug, a joiner, and Starveling, a tailor.

The fairy kingdom is represented by Oberon, the Fairy King; the Fairy Queen, Titania; Oberon’s servant, Puck; and numerous fairies, including Peasblossom, Cobweb, Moth and Mustardseed. See all characters in A Midsummer Night’s Dream.

Themes in A Midsummer Night’s Dream: The play explores love and marriage on several levels: the Athenian royalty, the fairy royalty and the four lovers.

Other themes are foolishness and self delusion.

A Midsummer Night’s Dream play on film, with Michele Pfeiffer and Kevin Kline

Michele Pfeiffer and Kevin Kline in Michael Hoffman’s 1999 A Midsummer Night’s Dream

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