A Midsummer Night’s Dream Act 1 Scene 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/Like to a step dame or a dowager/Long withering out a young man’s revenue (Lines 1-6). Theseus is telling his fiancée Hippolyta that the time he has to wait before their nuptial (wedding) is going so slowly that it is like the time that a young man has to wait for his stepmother to die before inheriting the family money. The full moon wanes (grows smaller) during this time until the new moon is in the sky.
Four days will quickly steep themselves in night…and then the moon, like to a silver bow/New bent in heaven, shall behold the night/Of our solemnities (Lines 7-11). Hippolyta is speaking to Theseus, telling him that the four days before their wedding will go by quickly. She compares the new moon that will be in the sky at the time of their wedding to a silver bow that is bent, as a bow is bent to shoot an arrow, which is a simile.
Go, Philostrate, / Stir up the Athenian youth to merriments. / … Turn melancholy forth to funerals; / The pale companion is not for our pomp (Lines 12-16). Theseus is speaking to Philostrate telling him to get the people of Athens prepared to celebrate and have a good time. He is saying the pale companion (melancholy) has no space in our festival. Theseus is comparing melancholy (sadness) to the pale companion.
I wooed thee with my sword/And won thy love doing thee injuries,/But I will wed thee in another key,/With pomp, with triumph, and with reveling (Lines 17-20). Theseus is speaking to Hippolyta telling her that he tried to woo (tried to make you love me) her with his sword by violence. He got Hippolyta to fall in love with him. Theseus will marry Hippolyta under different situations. With pomp (extravagant festivals), with triumph (public festivals), and with reveling (celebration).
Happy be Theseus, our renowned duke!…/Full of vexation come I, with complaint/Against my child, my daughter Hermia,— (Lines 21-24) Egeus is talking to Theseus telling him long live our famous and respected duke. Full of vexation (anger) complain about my daughter Hermia.
Stand forth Demetrius.—My noble Lord,/This man hath my consent to marry her— (Lines 25-26) Egeus is talking to Demetrius telling him to step forward my lord. Egeus is giving Demetrius permission to marry Hermia.
.Stand forth, Lysander.—And, my gracious duke,/This man hath bewitched the bosom of my child… (Lines 27-30). Egeus is telling Lysander to step forward telling him that he bewitched (cast a spell on) Hermia’s heart.
Thou, thou, Lysander, thou hast given her rhymes/and interchanged love tokens with my child./Thou hast by moonlight at her window sung/With feigning voice verses of feigning love… Egeus is talking to Lysander telling him that he has given Hermia poems, exchanged tokens of love, pretended to be in love with her, singing fake love songs softly at her at midnight.
With cunning hast thou filched my daughter’s heart,/Turned her obedience (which is due to me)/ To stubborn harshness…. Egeus is speaking to Lysander telling him, with cunning (cleverness), you filched (stole) Hermia’s heart. Making her stubborn and harsh instead of obedient like she needs to be.
I beg the ancient privilege of Athens:/As she is mine, I may dispose of her,/Which shall be either to this gentleman/Or to her death, according to our law… Egeus is talking to Theseus. Egeus is asking Lysander to exercise the right that all fathers have in Athens. Since Hermia is Egeus’s daughter, he can do whatever he wants with her. Hermia can either marry Demetrius or die according to her father.
What say you, Hermia? Be advised, fair maid./To you, you father should be as a god./…Demetrius is a worthy gentleman./ Theseus is talking to Hermia telling her what do you think Hermia. He is telling her think carefully pretty girl. You should think of you father as a god. Demetrius is an admirable man.
So is Lysander./ Hermia is telling Theseus that Lysander is as worthy as Demetrius is but better
In himself he is,/But in this kind, wanting your father’s voice,/The other must be held the worthier. Theseus is telling Hermia that Demetrius is much more worthier because he has Egeus’s voice
I would my father looked but with my eyes. Hermia is telling Theseus that she wants him to see Lysander the way she does
Rather your eyes must with his judgment look. Theseus is talking to Hermia. He said she has to see his parents point of view
I do entreat your Grace to pardon me./I know not by what power I am made bold,/Nor how it may concern my modesty/In such presence here to plead my thoughts;/But I beseech your Grace that I may know/The worst that may befall me in this case/If I refuse to wed Demetrius. Hermia is talking to Theseus and is telling him that she entreats (anxiously) his grace to forgive her. Hermia does not know what made her think she can say that. Also if speaking her mind to such a powerful, noble person her reputation for modesty. Hermia begs Theseus that she may know the worst that could happen to herself if she refuses to marry Demetrius.
Either to die the death, or to abjure /Forever the society of men./Therefore, fair Hermia, question your desires,/Know of your youth, examine well your blood,/Whether (if you yield not to your father’s choice)/You can endure the livery of a nun,/ Theseus is speaking to Hermia telling her that she will either be executed or never see another man again (also known as abjure). Hermia think carefully about what she wants. Considering how young she is and questioning her feelings. Whether she can live life without a husband or not.
So will I grow, so live, so die, my lord,/Ere will I yield my virgin patent up/Unto his lordship whose unwished yoke/My soul consents not to give sovereignty. Hermia is telling Theseus that she would rather wither away than give up her virginity to someone she does not love.
Take time to pause, and by the next new moon/(The sealing day betwixt my love and me/For everlasting bond of fellowship),/Upon that day either prepare to die/For disobedience to thy father’s will,/Or else to wed Demetrius, as he would,/Or on Diana’s altar to protest/For eye austerity and single life. Theseus is talking to Hermia, telling her to take time to think about the marriage. By the time of the next new moon when Hippolyta and I will be married, be ready either to be executed for disobeying your father, or to marry Demetrius as your father wants, or to take a vow to spend the rest of your life as a virgin priestess of the moon goddess.
Relent, sweet Hermia, and, Lysander, yield/They crazed title to my certain right. You have her father’s love, Demetrius./Let me have Hermia’s./Do you marry him. Demetrius is telling Hermia to give up and telling Lysander to give up his crazy claim because it’s his right to marry her.
Scornful, Lysander, true, he hath my love;/And what is mine my love will render him./And she is mine, and all my right of her/I do estate unto Demetrius. Egeus is telling Lysander that it is true that he does love Demetrius so he is asking Hermia to marry him. Hermia is Egeus’s so he is giving her to Demetrius.
I am, my lord, as well derived as he,/As well possessed. My love is more than his;/My fortunes every way as fairly marked/(If not with vantage) as Demetrius’;/And (which is more than all these boasts can be)/I am beloved of beauteous Hermia./Why should not I then prosecute my right? Lysander is telling Egeus that he is just as noble and rich as Demetrius is. An he has love for Hermia more than Demetrius. His prospects are just as good as his if not better. And beautiful Hermia loves Lysander which is more important than all the other things Lysander bragged about
Demetrius, I shall avouch it to his head, /Made love to Nedar’s daughter, Helena, /And won her soul; and she, sweet lady, dotes,/Devoutly dotes, dotes in idolatry/ Upon this spotted and inconstant man. Lysander is telling Egeus that he shall avouch (assert) to Demetrius’s face that he courted Nedar’s daughter, Helena, and made her fall in love with him. That sweet lady Helena, loves devoutly. She adores this horrible and unfaithful man.
I must confess that I have heard so much./And with Demetrius thought to have spoke thereof;/But, being overfull of self-affairs/My mind did lose it.— Lysander is speaking to Theseus saying I have to admit. I’ve heard something about that, and meant to ask Demetrius about it. But I was to busy with personal matters and it slipped my mind.
For you, fair Hermia, look you arm yourself/To fit your fancies to your father’s will,/Or else the law of Athens yields you up/(Which by no means we may extenuate)/To death or to a vow of single life.— Theseus is talking to Hermia saying as for you beautiful Hermia, get ready to do what your father wants, because otherwise because the law says you must die or become a nun, and there is nothing I can do about that.

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