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A Midsummer Night’s Dream

Theseus, Duke of Athens, has announced his wedding to Hippolyta, Queen of the Amazons. A group of workmen, including the weaver, Bottom, decide to perform the play of Pyramus and Thisby to celebrate the occasion. They meet at night in a wood near town to rehearse. The wood becomes the setting for the extraordinary events which follow. Two lovers from the Athenian aristocracy, Hermia and Lysander,also find shelter in the wood after running away to secretly marry. They are followed by Demetrius who loves Hermia and has obtained her father’s consent to marry her. Demetrius is hilmself being followed by Helena who is hopelessly in love with him. These characters eventually fall asleep in the wood and here begin the magical events which fill the night. The wood is inhabited by fairies whose king and queen, Oberon and Titania, have just had an argument. In his anger Oberon asks Puck, his servant, to bring him a magic flower whose juices he will squeeze on Titania’s eyes while she is sleeping. This juice has the power to make her fall in love with the first person she sees when she wakes. Unfortunately the first person she sees is Bottom, one of the workmen, whose head Puck had mischievously changed into an ass’s while he was sleeping. When the other workmen wake up and see him they run away in fright but Titania declares her love for him. Oberon also ordered Puck to use the magic juice on Demetrius’s eyes to help the love struck Helena out of her misery by making him love her, but Puck makes various mistakes with the potion and both Lysander and Demetrius fall in love with Helena. The result is a chain of confusing events and misunderstandings which are only eventually solved with the clear light of day when harmony is once more re-established. The spells are undone, the ass’s head is removed from Bottom, Oberon and Titania make the peace, Lysander’s affection is restored to Hermia and Demetrius becomes attached to Helena. The events of the night are just confused memories for the lovers and the two couples celebrate their weddings together with Theseus and Hippolyta. Everyone is then entertained by Bottom and his companions as they perform the play of Pyramus and Thisby.
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