A Midsummer Night’s Dream Act 2.1 Background

How were fairies different in Shakespeare’s time? Fairies used to be men and women who ruled the natural world. However, they have become female, winged people in modern culture. Whereas Shakespeare’s fairies were mischeivous and always the cause of trouble, now they are representative of kindness or flowers etc.
What powers did fairies have in Shakespeare’s time? Fairies used to be able to shapeshift into any object or size they wanted and had significant power over the workings of the natural world. Now, fairies cast spells using fairy dust and usually cannot change form.
What did the woods symbolize at the time? The woods were mysterious, unexplored wilderness to the people of Shakespeare’s time. They were dark, scary, and ominous.
Who were Titania and Oberon? Titania was the queen of the fairies and Oberon was the king of the fairies. Together, they ruled over the natural world and when they fought, natural disasters would happen.
What was a votress? A votress was a servant of the queen who was hand picked for the duty. They were most often sworn into the duty and made up the queen’s train.
What was a changeling child? A changeling child was a mortal child who had been stolen by the fairies and made immortal by them. Peasants often believed that if they had a very imperfect child, that meant they had had a perfect one, but the fairies replaced it.
What/Who was the Hobgoblin/Robin Goodfellow/Puck? He was Oberon’s main servant and advisor. His goal was to make Oberon laugh by making trouble for the mortals and to obey Oberon’s every command.

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