William Shakespeare has been, and forever will be, one of the greatest play-writes of all time. One of his many famous plays, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, portrays three plots: Star-crossed lovers and a one sided crush; A disagreement between the king and queen of fairies, which leads to falling in love with an ‘ass’; and a team of actors who try to rehearse for a play that will be performed at the king’s wedding, but gets interrupted by something you wouldn’t expect. All of this, with the help of Puck’s magic. This storyline has been implemented in many different varieties of acted-out plays and also movies.
It all starts when Theseus confronts Hippolyta about their wedding in four days. Hippolyta is against the whole thing but she can’t do anything because Theseus defeated her in war. Next walks in Egeus with his daughter Hermia, along with two men named Lysander and Demetrius. Egeus complains to Egeus that he does not want Hermia marrying the love of her life, Lysander, but must instead, marry Demetrius. He gives her three choices: marry Demetrius, become a nun, or die.
When Egeus leaves, Hermia talks to Lysander and comes up with a plan: go to the woods where there are no rules, and get eloped. This is where Helena comes in. She hears their plan and, being in love with Demetrius, plans to tell him in hopes he’d follow them and she could win his heart. So that’s what she does. Lysander and Hermia go into the woods and Demetrius and Helena follow. Hermia and Lysander lie down after a long stroll through the woods and eventually stop to get some rest.
Along comes Puck, who was given orders from King Oberon to drop this love juice into an Athenian man’s eyes so he would fall in love with the first person he sees. Little did Puck know, he put it in the wrong mans eyes. Helena finds Lysander in the woods and wakes him. He wakes up and instantly falls for Helena. Puck then returns to Oberon and realizes he did something wrong. He then finds Demetrius to put the love juice in his eyes. Demetrius then finds Helena and instantly falls for her, too. Lysander and Demetrius realize they are both in love with Helena and start fighting over her.
Throughout all of this, Helena thinks it’s all a joke and Hermia is just as confused. Later on, after a lot of arguing, Puck ends up fixing everything back to normal where Lysander loves Hermia and Demetrius loves Helena. Theseus finds them and then declares them to be married at his wedding. Egeus strongly disagrees and argues with Theseus, but Theseus doesn’t budge. Later at the wedding, a play is performed and the wedded couples enjoy themselves while eating dinner and drinking.
While all this mishap was going on, Nick Bottom and many other actors are rehearsing a play that is to be performed at Theseus’ and Hippolyta’s wedding. After choosing who’ll play what, Bottom, Flute, Quince, Snug, and Snout head to the woods to rehearse in private. While getting set in a scene, Puck turns Bottom’s head into a donkey.
The other actors see him and flee right away. Bottom is left in the woods by himself. He stumbles upon Titania, the fairy queen. He wakes her, not knowing she had the love potion on her eyes. She awakes and immediately falls head over heels in love with him. She treats him like a god. After this, Puck heads back to Oberon and tells him the juicy details.
Oberon laughs, for he knows he won the little quarrel between him and his wife. He then goes to Titania after Puck reverses the potion. They get along and start dancing. While this happens, Bottom heads back to town and finds the actors. They are to see he has returned to normal in time for the play. Hours later, they perform their play in front of everybody at the king’s wedding. It was performed very badly and everyone started laughing. Everything was back to normal.
A Midsummer Night’s Dream, being one of Shakespeare’s best comedies, has many variations of performances. The movie shown in class had a good representation of the play, however, there are many differences between the movie and the play. One of the major differences between the two, is how, in the movie, they used electronics. Back when MSND was written, there were no such things. Another difference i noticed was that, in the movie, when Puck put the love potion in Demetrius’ eyes, he sees Lysander first and falls in love.
They immediately fix it to where he falls for Helena instead. Also, in the movie, Hippolyta wears a straight jacket to keep her from using her powers. The end is also very different in the movie. Theseus ends up getting killed by the fairies and Titania goes and saves Hippolyta from the straight jacket. They end up having feelings for each other and dance together. These are just some of the major differences I noticed between the movie and the play.
Between the movie and the play, i prefer the play. I do like the movie as well. It definitely helped me visualize the play better. However, i like the play better because i just prefer books over movies. I really enjoyed reading the play in class. It was fun to have different people reading parts. So overall, i prefer the play over the movie.
In the end, A Midsummer Night’s Dream is a great play and I would not mind reading it again. I really enjoyed both the movie and the play. I would definitely recommend this play to people who are looking to read a funny, witty, Shakespearean play.
- A Midsummer Night’s Dream play