A midsummer night’s dream

Theseus The heroic duke of Athens, engaged to Hippolyta. He represents power and order throughout the play. He appears only at the beginning and end of the story, removed from the dreamlike events of the forest.
Hippolyta The legendary queen of the Amazons, engaged to Theseus. Like Theseus, she symbolizes order.
Egeus Hermia’s father, who brings a complaint against his daughter to Theseus: He has given Demetrius permission to marry Hermia, but Hermia, in love with Lysander, refuses to marry Demetrius. His severe insistence that Hermia either respect his wishes or be held accountable to Athenian law places him squarely outside the whimsical dream realm of the forest.
Hermia Egeus’s daughter, a young woman of Athens. She is in love with Lysander and is a childhood friend of Helena. As a result of the fairies’ mischief with Oberon’s love potion, both Lysander and Demetrius suddenly fall in love with Helena. Self-conscious about her short stature, She suspects that Helena has wooed the men with her height. By morning, however, Puck has sorted matters out with the love potion, and Lysander’s love for her is restored.
Lysander A young man of Athens, in love with Hermia. His relationship with Hermia invokes the theme of love’s difficulty: he cannot marry her openly because Egeus, her father, wishes her to wed Demetrius; when him and Hermia run away into the forest, he becomes the victim of misapplied magic and wakes up in love with Helena.
Helena A young woman of Athens, in love with Demetrius. Demetrius and her were once betrothed, but when Demetrius met her friend Hermia, he fell in love with her and abandoned her. Lacking confidence in her looks, she thinks that Demetrius and Lysander are mocking her when the fairies’ mischief causes them to fall in love with her.
Demetrius A young man of Athens, initially in love with Hermia and ultimately in love with Helena. His obstinate pursuit of Hermia throws love out of balance among the quartet of Athenian youths and precludes a symmetrical two-couple arrangement.
Nick Bottom The overconfident weaver chosen to play Pyramus in the craftsmen’s play for Theseus’s marriage celebration. He is full of advice and self-confidence but frequently makes silly mistakes and misuses language. His simultaneous nonchalance about the beautiful Titania’s sudden love for him and unawareness of the fact that Puck has transformed his head into that of an ass mark the pinnacle of his foolish arrogance.
Peter Quince A carpenter and the nominal leader of the craftsmen’s attempt to put on a play for Theseus’s marriage celebration. He is often shoved aside by the abundantly confident Bottom. During the craftsmen’s play, He plays the Prologue.
Titania The beautiful queen of the fairies, She resists the attempts of her husband, Oberon, to make a knight of the young Indian prince that she has been given. Her brief, potion-induced love for Nick Bottom, whose head Puck has transformed into that of an ass, yields the play’s foremost example of the contrast motif.
Oberon The king of the fairies, he is initially at odds with his wife, Titania, because she refuses to relinquish control of a young Indian prince whom he wants for a knight. His desire for revenge on Titania leads him to send Puck to obtain the love-potion flower that creates so much of the play’s confusion and farce.
Puck (Robin Goodfellow) He is Oberon’s jester, a mischievous fairy who delights in playing pranks on mortals. Though A Midsummer Night’s Dream divides its action between several groups of characters, he is the closest thing the play has to a protagonist. His enchanting, mischievous spirit pervades the atmosphere, and his antics are responsible for many of the complications that propel the other main plots: he mistakes the young Athenians, applying the love potion to Lysander instead of Demetrius, thereby causing chaos within the group of young lovers; he also transforms Bottom’s head into that of an ass.
Athens Town in Greece where Hermia and Lysander flee from
The forest Where most of the play takes place. Forest in which fairies live
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 wreak romantic havoc throughout Acts II, III, and IV. Because the meddling fairies are careless with the love potion, the situation of the young Athenian lovers becomes increasingly chaotic and confusing (Demetrius and Lysander are magically compelled to transfer their love from Hermia to Helena), and Titania is hilariously humiliated (she is magically compelled to fall deeply in love with the ass-headed Bottom). 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.
The mechanical’s play The play-within-a-play that takes up most of Act V, scene i is used to represent, in condensed form, many of the important ideas and themes of the main plot. Because the craftsmen are such bumbling actors, their performance satirizes the melodramatic Athenian lovers and gives the play a purely joyful, comedic ending. Pyramus and Thisbe face parental disapproval in the play-within-a-play, just as Hermia and Lysander do; the theme of romantic confusion enhanced by the darkness of night is rehashed, as Pyramus mistakenly believes that Thisbe has been killed by the lion, just as the Athenian lovers experience intense misery because of the mix-ups caused by the fairies’ meddling. The craftsmen’s play is, therefore, a kind of symbol for A Midsummer Night’s Dream itself: a story involving powerful emotions that is made hilarious by its comical presentation.

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