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A Midsummer Night’s Dream Plot Summary/Synopsis

A Midsummer Night's Dream Summary

William Shakespeare writes a Midsummer Night’s Dream in the early 1600s. The play’s plot revolves around four couples as they exchange partners, and each couple is based on one of the four classical elements composed of a noblewoman, who represents air and intellect; an Athenian man, who represents fire and war; a rural laborer, who represents earth and strength; and an inhabitant of outer space (a sprite called Puck), who represents water. The play features multiple wit-combats between the characters and several pastoral interludes. The play is known for its romantic themes, and the characters often speak with verse. The Midsummer’s Night Dream is among English literature’s best plays.

1. Description

The play begins in a forest setting where Puck and Titania, the Queen of the fairies, discuss spirits, supernatural creatures, and dream lovers. Titania tricks Bottom into believing he had married his partner in a dream when he has not even met her and her attendants. She then commands Puck to create a magical juice that will cause the owner of the potion to fall in love with the first person their eyes saw when waking. In a production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream, the scene is set in an Elizabethan-era clearing accompanied by lighting, music, and props. The play progresses to a courtroom where Oberon, King of the fairies, threatens to curse Titania with permanent sleep if she disobeys him and allows him complete control over her fairy kingdom.

2. Protagonist

The main protagonist in the play is Puck, a sprite from the woods known for his pranks. Oberon has ordered him, King of the fairies, to steal some juice from a flower that can make a person fall in love with the first thing they see after waking up. The juice is given to the fairies, who then use it on Titania, Queen of the fairies. The fairy king threatens Titania if she does not obey him. She then asks her three attendant fairies to get the juice out of her possession, and Puck attempts to steal it. During his attempt, he falls in love with Titania’s maid, but before he can propose marriage to her, she wakes up, so he brings her a crown instead, giving him away as an intruder in their kingdom.

3. Protagonist’s Goals and Motivations

In A Midsummer Night’s Dream, the plot revolves around four couples exchanging partners and switching love interests. The couples include Hippolyta, Queen of the Amazons; Theseus, Duke of Athens; Lysander, an Athenian man; Hermia, a noblewoman; Helena, a commoner; and Demetrius, a nobleman. The fairies intervene in their affairs when they see them at odds with their partners. This is when they decide to take action by using the love potion on Titania so that Puck can steal it from her possessions. The fairies hope that once Puck gets the potion, he will fall in love with Titania, making her submissive to Oberon.

4. Environment

The play is set in a forest, a palace, and a courtroom. This sets the scene for the play, where humans and other supernatural beings can interact with each other without being aware of their surroundings. The forest also serves as a setting for a chance encounter between Puck and Titania and the play’s romantic elements. These settings ensure that the play is appropriate for children and adults.

5. Character Relationships

In A Midsummer Night’s Dream, the relationships between characters are highly complex but essential to the play. Friendships are shown to be possible between humans and fairies; however, they can also be more complicated. For example, Hermia, Lysander, and Demetrius are friends, but they compete for Helena’s affection. The play offers numerous opportunities for conflict as well as romance.

5. Setting

A Midsummer Night’s Dream takes place in the palace of Titania and Oberon, the King of the fairies. Many objects play a big part in the play, such as pumpkins, flowers, and the garden at nightfall. The trees fall when they are struck by lightning or sunrays and become fruits. The forest is lush with green grasses, waterfalls, and lakes. Many creatures inhabit the woods, such as fairies, sprites, and animals. The play begins in the court of Theseus and Hippolyta, King and Queen of Athens. Theseus is signing a peace treaty with Demetrius, King of Athens. The lovers, Lysander and Hermia, are talking about their plan to run away together to escape their arranged marriages. Helena is talking to her father, Egeus, about marrying Demetrius even though he does not love her. The set is divided into two separate areas by a curtain, of which one houses the forest and the other houses the courtroom. This division is significant in setting the tone for each scene because it allows viewers to understand where different characters are more likely to interact with each other.

6. Plot Summary

In A Midsummer Night’s Dream, multiple plots are co-occurring. The first plot involves the subplots of Theseus and Hippolyta, Duke and Duchess of Athens, their child Hermia who is in love with Demetrius, and Helena, who is in love with Demetrius as well. Then there is the story of Oberon and Titania, the King and Queen of the Fairies. The last plot is about Puck, Robin Goodfellow, a mischievous fairy. Oberon sent Puck to get a love potion from Titania. She refuses to give him the potion, but he uses magic to switch different people’s, true love. In the end, all the plots become intertwined and resolve themselves by the end of the play.

7. Conflict

Many conflicts are happening simultaneously in the play A Midsummer Night’s Dream. These conflicts include the feud between Athens and Thebes, the rivalry between Theseus and Egeus, Egeus’ fight for his daughter Helena to marry Demetrius, and Lysander’s fight with Demetrius over Helena. Another conflict is Oberon’s fight with Titania over the rule of their kingdom. There is also a conflict between the four lovers resulting in their switching partners with other people.

8. Characters

In A Midsummer Night’s Dream, seven main characters are in the same play. Three of the main characters include Theseus, Helena, and Titania. Other characters include Demetrius, Egeus, Puck, Lysander, and Hermia. The central conflict in W H Auden’s play is the feud between Athens and Thebes, and these two feuding brothers fall in love, which puts a dent in their relationship. The two brothers also want to marry their sister, Hermia, to Demetrius, who has just returned from studying in Athens. This causes a lot of tension between the two men, resulting in them fighting each other at one point.

9. Verbal Dialogue

In A Midsummer Night’s Dream, there is a lot of verbal dialogue during the play that involves characters speaking to each other. The characters often talk in fairytale language that only the audience can understand. This creates a fun aspect of the play since only some in the space know that they are in a play. Encounters between characters during their interactions are also heavily dependent on verbal dialogue, which helps the audience understand what is happening and why it is happening. For example, these verbal interactions include Lysander addressing his sister Hermia as ‘my dear.’

10. Structural Patterns

The play contains an exposition, rising action, climax, falling action, and resolution. The exposition introduces the setting of the play as well as the characters that will be involved in the story. The rising step consists of a conflict between Puck and Titania’s fairies on the one hand and Oberon and Titania on the other. However, Oberon eventually triumphs over Titania when he uses his magic to force her to fall asleep for a long time. The climax is reached when Oberon, Puck, and the lovers are reunited. The falling action sees the coming daybreak, awakens Titania, and separates the couple. Finally, the resolution sees things restored to their normal situation and the romantic couples being restored to their authentic relationships.

11. Themes

The play A Midsummer Night’s Dream reflects many themes that are important to the overall story of the play. These themes include the nature of love, lust, and jealousy. The characters in the play are constantly in conflict with each other due to their intense rivalry for Helena’s love. There is constant confusion and banter between various characters as each tries to discover who was responsible for being switched with another character in the play. This confusion builds until the culprit’s true identity is found at the end of the play.

12. Symbols

In A Midsummer Night’s Dream, various metaphors and symbols in the play help to tell a story and make it attractive to viewers. There is a lot of talk about love, lust, and jealousy in this play, as well as a large amount of confusion. The characters often engage in verbal conversations that only their audience can understand or interpret.


Auden’s play “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” is a classic English stage work written in the 1930s. It has been staged many times in America and England and translated into various other languages. The play tells the story of Oberon and Titania, the King and Queen of the fairies, how they came to be rulers, and how their kingdom was established. In addition to being a fascinating story, it reflects many cultural norms from society during this time.

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