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A Midsummer Night’s Dream by William Shakespeare

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Presentation on theme: "A Midsummer Night’s Dream by William Shakespeare"— Presentation transcript:

1 A Midsummer Night’s Dream by William Shakespeare

2 Key facts Type: Romantic comedy Time: Remote antiquity Locale: Athens
First presented: 1595

3 In the forest outside of Athens, Greece…
:THE SETTING In the forest outside of Athens, Greece…

4 The characters


6 The plot

7 The main plot: Theseus is getting married to Hippolyta.
Egeus complaints that his daughter, Hermia refuses to marry the man he has chosen for her. Theseus tells Egeus that she must marry Demetrius or choose between death and becoming a nun. A group of workmen is planning to perform a play in honor of Theseus and Hippolyta’s wedding.

8 Paths of the plot The plot of Midsummer follows three paths, the marriage between Theseus and Hippolyta, the four Athenian lovers, and the fairies. All three overlap at times, with a final convergence at the end of all three with the many marriages and Oberon and Titania back together.

9 Basic sub-plots Sub-plot A: The Lovers
Hermia loves Lysander, but is being forced to marry Demetrius. Demetrius loves Hermia, but she does not love him. Helena loves Demetrius, but he no longer loves her. Helena tells Demetrius that Hermia and Lysander plan to meet in the forest and run away together, hoping this will make him favor her. Demetrius heads into the forest to find them. Helena follows Demetrius into the forest.

10 Sub-plot B: The Fairies
Meanwhile, in the forest… Oberon is arguing with Titania because he wants to adopt the orphan child she has raised from infancy. He devises a plan to use a magic flower to trick Titania into giving him the child. He sends his servant, Puck, to find the magic flower and use it on Titania. When the nectar from the flower is placed in someone’s eyes while sleeping, they fall in love with the first person they see upon waking.

11 While Puck is obtaining the flower, Oberon overhears Helena and Demetrius arguing and decides to help them resolve their dispute with the powers of the magic flower. He instructs Puck to find Demetrius and place some flower nectar in his eyes too.

12 Sub-plot C: The actors The workmen go into the forest to rehearse the play they are performing for Theseus and Hippolyta’s wedding. At this point all three groups are in the woods: the lovers, the fairies, and the actors. A series of mix-ups occur, when Puck places the love potion from the magic flower in Lysander’s eyes instead of Demetrius’s.

13 The Theme

14 1- Dreams As the title suggests, dreams are an important theme in A Midsummer Night’s Dream. The theme of dreaming recurs predominantly when characters attempt to explain bizarre events in which they are involved. Shakespeare is also interested in the actual workings of dreams, or how events occur without explanation At the end of the play, Puck extends the idea of dreams to the audience members themselves, saying that, if they have been offended by the play, they should remember it as nothing more than a dream.

15 2- Magic and Fairies The fairies’ magic is another element central to the fantastic atmosphere of A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Shakespeare uses magic both to embody the almost supernatural power of love (symbolized by the love potion) and to create a surreal world. Although the misuse of magic causes chaos, magic ultimately resolves the play’s tensions by restoring love to balance among the quartet of Athenian youths.

16 3- The difficulty of love
“The course of true love never did run smooth,” comments Lysander, articulating one of A Midsummer Night’s Dream’s most important themes—that of the difficulty of love (I.i.134). Though the play involves a number of romantic elements, it is not truly a love story; it distances the audience from the emotions of the characters in order to poke fun at the torments and afflictions that those in love suffer. The theme of love’s difficulty is often explored through the motif of love out of balance The prime instance of this imbalance is the asymmetrical love among the four young Athenians: Hermia loves Lysander, Lysander loves Hermia, Helena loves Demetrius, and Demetrius loves Hermia instead of Helena.

17 4- Duty Duty is more absent than present in A Midsummer Night’s Dream.
The play is full of relationships that require duty: father to daughter, friend to friend, lover to lover. Yet these relationships are put by the wayside as soon as something more interesting emerges. For example, Hermia eschews duty by escaping her father, and feuding with her best friend, Helena.

18 4- Transformation Transformation is important in the play in a literal and metaphoric sense. Hermia must transform her will and marry a man she doesn’t love or become a nun. Hippolyta has been captured and made to marry Theseus, so she might as well like it. Other times, transformation is the result of enchantment, such as falling in love based on a love potion.

19 Symbols

20 The Love Potion The love potion is made from the juice of a flower that was struck with one of Cupid’s misfired arrows it is used by the fairies to the young lovers the situation of the young Athenian lovers becomes increasingly chaotic and confusing as a result of that potion The love potion thus becomes a symbol of the unreasoning, fickle, erratic, and undeniably powerful nature of love, which can lead to inexplicable and bizarre behavior and cannot be resisted.

21 Review Questions

22 1- What kind of drama is “A Midsummer Night’s Dream”? A comedy
2- Which of the young Athenians is first affected by the love potion? Lysander 3- What are Hermia’s choices if she refuses to marry Demetrius? She can become a nun or be put to death 4-What effect does it have when the juice of this flower is put on someone’s eyes? They fall in love with the first person/thing they see when they wake up.

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