A MIDSUMMER'S NIGHT DREAM - ACT 1 QUESTIONS

By Bruno Koloska


Act I, Scene 1
1. How is Hippolyta’s reasoning concerning how quickly the next four days will pass different from that of Theseus?
Hippolyta says to Theseus that the four days until their wedding will pass quicker than he thinks; Theseus seems to think it an eternity until the couple's wedding.

2. Why has Egeus brought his daughter and her two suitors to Theseus? What does Egeus expect him to do?
Egeus needs permission to give his daughter two choices: marry Demetrius, or die by her father's hand. Egeus expects Theseus to uphold Athenian law and authorize this.

3. What was the proper role for women/daughters in Athenian society according to Egeus and Theseus? What is Theseus’s ruling concerning Hermia?
Women and daughters must listen to and obey their fathers at all times, and consent to any order. Theseus' ruling concerning Hermia states that she should see her father as a god, and serve him always.

4. How does Lysander’s comment about Demetrius’s previous love affair with Helena complicate things?
By making the point that Demetrius was and is in love with another, Lysander argues that he has no right to Hermia, thus going against Athenian law with a good arguement. Now, the law must compete with the rights to Hermia, with no clear winner yet decided.

5. What do Lysander and Hermia plan to do about this seemingly impossible situation? Why do they tell Helena?
Lysander and Hermia decide to meet at midnight and then leave Athens. They will flee to Lysander's aunt's house, where they are free from Athenian law, to get married. As they tell Helena, they pity her, and tell her that when Hermia is out of the way with Lysander, she can take another shot at getting Demetrius to love her.

6. Even though Helena loves Demetrius and is Hermia’s best friend, why does she decide to tell Demetrius of Hermia and Lysander’s plans?
According to Helena's logic, if she tells Demetrius of Hermia's and Lysander's plot, Demetrius will love her. The is illogical, but perhaps Shakespeare is saying that love is illogical.

7. Identify Hermia’s basic dilemma. What are the choices outlined for her by Theseus and her father? What other choice does Lysander suggest?
The choices outlined by Theseus and Egeus are as follows: marry Demetrius, or die. Lysander, however, suggests that he and Hermia escape to his aunt's house, outside of Athenian law.

Act I, Scene 2
8. Why does Nick Bottom want to play all the parts?
Nick believes that he is the best actor, and therefore wants to play all the parts. Also illogical, Nick is showing off his ego.

9. In what way is this scene funny? Why do you suppose Shakespeare included this scene?
This scene is funny because the actors for the supposed play come up with excuses for not being able to play their parts, like Flute, saying he cannot play a woman because he is growing a beard. It is also ridiculous for Bottom wants to play almost all of the parts.

10. Where are the actors to meet the following night? Who else is meeting there at the same time?
The actors are meeting on the wood, the same place where Lysander and Hermia are meeting to commence their flight.

11. How would you describe Bottom’s acting ability? What is Bottom’s own opinion of his acting ability?
I think Bottom's acting ability is described as uppity, showy and overindulgent. Bottom thinks he is the best actor this side of the world. While he is a little good, there are much better actors.

Podcast by Bruno Koloska

ACT 2 QUESTIONS


10. What does the reader find out about the current relationship between Oberon, King of the Fairies, and Titania, Queen of the Fairies, from Puck and the first fairy?
The reader finds that the relationship between Titania and Oberon is tense, and that they are always arguing over things that are pointless. The reader also finds a hint that when the two deities argue, bad things happen.

11. How have Oberon and Titania been involved in the past with Theseus and Hippolyta; why have they come to Athens?
Oberon and Titania have come to Athens to see the wedding of Theseus and Hippolyta.

12. What effect has their quarrel had on nature, on the seasons, on humans?
The fights between Oberon and Titania trigger floods which rot crops, and throw the four seasons out of control, destroying harvests and changing the planting and harvesting time for everything.

13. Why won’t Titania give up the changeling to Oberon?
Titania promised the original owner of the child that she would look after the child.

14. What does Oberon send Puck to find?
Oberon sends Puck to find a flower that has magical properties. Anyone who has its dew sprinkled on his or her forehead will fall unconditionally in love with the first thing it sees when he or she wakes up.

15. What are Oberon’s plans for Titania?
Oberon plans for Titania to fall in love with some nasty beast, humiliating her.

16. How does Helena react to Demetrius’s verbal abuse?
Helena turns everything Demetrius says around to benefit her, like responding to Demetrius when he says that when he sees her, she makes him sick, with "I am sick when I don't see you."

17. What is her response to his threats of physical abuse?
She says that he can beat her all he likes, but she will continue to follow him.

18. In what way is Helena’s behaviour inappropriate for Athenian women?
Helena is completely giving herself up to Demetrius, throwing away all her pride, all for a man who doesn't love her. This is inappropriate because Athenian women are supposed to have pride and only do things that do not tarnish their reputation or soul.

19. What does Oberon tell Puck to do about Demetrius and Helena?
Oberon tells Puck to anoint the eyes of the Athenian man lying close to a woman

Act II, Scene 2
20. Why does Oberon want Titania to wake and fall in love with some vile thing?
This is Oberon's revenge against Titania for not giving him the changeling child.

21. Why does Hermia insist Lysander sleep a little ways from her?
Hermia's reason for not letting Lysander sleep close to her is this: they are not married yet, and Hermia wishes to retain her modesty.

22. Why does Puck anoint Lysander’s eyes?
Puck thinks that Lysander is the Athenian man Oberon sent him to anoint with the magical dew, as he is Athenian, and is sleeping in the same area as Hermia.

23. How does Helena react to Lysander’s sudden love for her when he awakens?
Helena thinks that Lysander is playing a cruel trick on her, and she scolds him.

24. How is Hermia’s dream a reflection of reality?
In Hermia's dream, a snake ate her heart. Lysander abandoning her is the equivalent, to her, of having her heart torn out.

Act 2 Podcast

Podcast by Bruno Koloska

ACT 3 QUESTIONS


Act III, Scene 1
25. How are the actors going to keep from scaring the ladies when Pyramus kills himself or when the lion roars?
The actors are going to create a prologue that reveals the obvious: Pyramus is really Bottom, and is not really going to die;
and the lion is really a man.

26. How are the actors going to manage the setting/scenery such as the moonlight and the wall?
The natural moonlight will be used for the play, and a man will be used as the wall.

27. Why do the rest of the actors run off when Bottom reappears?
Puck has transformed Bottom's head into that of a donkey's, and Bottom's companions are frightened and run away.

28. What does Puck plan to do when he follows after the other actors?
Puck plans to play tricks on the other actors, sometimes helping them, and sometimes hindering them.

29. How does Bottom react to Titania and the other fairies?
Bottom takes the sudden appearance of the fairies and Titania in stride, welcoming them as if they were normal humans, and wishing their acquaintance.

30. Bottom says, "…reason and love keep little company together nowadays." Why is this such an apt statement at this point in the play?
Because Titania suddenly unconditionally loves Bottom, this line is appropriate because there is no logical reason open to Bottom that Titania should love him on first sight. By saying the line, he's pointing out that love isn't logical anymore, suggesting that people everywhere are swooning for each other just because they're there.

31. What does Hermia accuse Demetrius of doing?
Hermia accuses Demetrius of killing Lysander.

32. How are Puck and Oberon going to correct Puck’s earlier mistake?
Puck and Oberon are going to re-anoint the eyes of the men, so that they will fall in love again with their respective lovers.

33. Why is Helena upset when Demetrius says he loves her? Isn’t this what she had wanted all along?
Helena thinks that Demetrius is in on the "joke" being played on her. Being treated so horribly by Demetrius earlier, she sees no reason for Demetrius to suddenly love her.

34. Of what does Helena accuse Hermia?
Helena accuses Hermia of playing a trick on her, the same "joke" being played on her by Demetrius.

35. How close had Hermia and Helena been in the past?
Hermia and Helena were best friends in their childhood. It seems they still are best friends.

36. How does Lysander treat Hermia? Why can’t she believe what he says?
Lysander shoos Hermia away forcefully, effectively saying she is a "curse". Hermia can't believe him because Lysander has loved her, and only her, in the past. For Lysander to suddenly switch allegiances to Helena is, once again, illogical.

37. Of what does Hermia accuse Helena?
Hermia accuses Helena of stealing Lysander's love from her, with methods unknown.

38. Why is Helena afraid of Hermia?
Helena is afraid of Hermia because she has had experiences with her when she was angry, saying she was fierce and shrewd.

39. What are Lysander and Demetrius going off to do?
Lysander and Demetrius are going off to fight over Helena's love.

40. What does Oberon tell Puck to do about the two young men?
Oberon terlls Puck to seperate the two men.

41. What is Oberon going to do about Titania?
Oberon is going to ask for the changeling boy, and if Titania gives him up, he will release her from the spell of love.

42. Why doesn’t Oberon fear the coming of day?
Oberon isn't afraid of daybreak because he still has his fairy powers, while almost all of the other fairies have no powers.

43. How well does Puck’s trickery work?
Puck's trickery works marvelously, separating the two men and having them fall asleep close to their original lover. This is good because Oberon can then fix the entire dilemma, and have Lysander love Hermia, and have Demetrius love Helena.

Review Question: The climax, or turning point, of A Midsummer Night’s Dream comes at the end of Act 3. In point form describe the major plot points of Act Three starting from when Titania falls in love with Bottom leading to the climax or point of the play near the end of act three.
-Puck turns Bottom into an ass
-Titania falls in love with Bottom
-Demetrius, Helena, Hermia and Lysander all meet up and start having fights with each other.
-Demetrius and Lysander fight over Helena because they are under the spell of the love flower.
-Hermia and Helena also fight, and Helena says that they're all in on a joke that they're playing on her.
-Lysander and Demetrius go off to fight for Helena, and Hermia and Helena run away from each other in disgust.


Podcast: Shakespeare plays with ideas of vision, of blindness, and of different ways of interpreting what one sees. Podcast, with music the lines in Act Three that deal with this imagery.

Podcast by Bruno Koloska


Act 4 Questions

Act IV, Scene 1
44. How has Bottom adjusted to the attention of Titania and her fairies?
Bottom acts as if the fairies are there purely to serve him; which, in a sense, they are. He seems to be taking advantage of them.

45. What is Oberon’s reaction to Titania’s infatuation with Bottom?
Oberon acts pleased that his plan went as well as it did. He even says that it went better than he thought it could. Perhaps too well, as Oberon seems jealous.

46. What sort of explanation will Oberon make to Titania’s question about what happened to her?
Oberon will tell Titania that she had had a dream.

47. Why are Theseus, Hippolyta, Egeus, and the others out in the woods so early in the morning?
Theseus, Hippolyta, Egeus, and the others are in the woods to go hunting.

48. What is Theseus’s first explanation of why the young people are asleep in the woods?
Theseus' explanation to why the four people are in the woods is that they were celebrating before the wedding.

49. What explanation does Demetrius make? Why does he compare his love for Hermia to an illness?
Demetrius says that he was chasing Lysander and Hermia through the woods because they were trying to escape the Athenian law and get married. He compares his love to Hermia to an illness because an illness is something that you don't want, but that you get anyway.

50. What is Theseus’s decision concerning the four young people?
Theseus decides to let the two men marry the object of their love, overturning Egeus.

51. Why can’t the young people be sure whether they are awake or dreaming?
They can't decide whether they were asleep or dreaming because they have all supposedly had the same dream.

52. Bottom believes he too has had a dream. How is he going to use that to entertain the Duke?
Bottom is going to use what he remembers from his dream to write a ballad for the duke.

Act IV, Scene 2
53. What opinion do the other artisans now have of Bottom since they think he is lost?
The other men that are in the play think of Bottom as the best man in the world now that he's gone.

54. What do they most regret losing by not being able to perform the play?
They most regret losing the six pence that the would have gotten from the duke for playing the play.

55. Why must the artisans hurry to the Duke’s palace?
The artisans must hurry because if they don't, they won't make it in time to play their play.

Extending the thought process.
a) The fourth act opens and ends with Bottom at center stage. What is your opinion of Bottom’s character? How might he be the antithesis, or opposite, of Theseus’s character?
Bottom is quite egostatistical. He is quite the opposite of Theseus, who only wants the best for his daughter. However, they are the same on the way that they both bragged about something in the play; Theseus bragged about his dogs, Bottom his acting.
b) How do most of the dreamers respond to the dream experience upon waking? Which character is changed permanently by the dream experience?
Most of the dreamers think that they have been asleep, yet they all had the same dream. This confuses them. Demetrius is changed permanently because he is still under the spell of the love flower, and loves Helena.

c) In this act, several characters look back at prior infatuations with disbelief. What do you think Shakespeare is saying about love and infatuation?
Shakespeare is saying that love is illogical, and constantly changes without fail. Nobody can expect to love one person forever, nor can they expect that person to love them back.


Act 4 Podcast: Bottom decides to commission Peter Quince to write a ballad called “Bottom’s Dream.” On your own or with a partner, imagine that you have been asked to write the lyrics and compose the musical accompaniment. Remember that at the beginning of act 4, Bottom told the fairies that he likes to listen to the “tongs and bones” (act 4, scene 1, line 30). Tongs were pieces of metal struck against each other and bones were actual bones. These instruments were used in comical or in less sophisticated musical performances. Write the poetry for the ballad ( a minimum of 2 stanzas, 4 lines each), then put it to music!

Podcast by Bruno Koloska and Matthew Haussmann

Act V Questions

56. Why does Theseus dismiss the stories of the four young people?
Theseus dismisses the stories of the four young people because he sees that they will continue to love each other and want each other no matter what he does.

57. Why does Theseus choose to see the play about Pyramus and Thisbe rather than the other entertainments?
Theseus chooses to see the play because it intrigues him that a play can contradict itself by being tedious and brief, tragical and full of mirth, all at the same time.

58. Why does Philostrate try to keep Theseus from seeing the play? What does he say is wrong with it?
The Philostrate tries to keep Theseus from seeing the play because he thinks that the play will be a total dud, unworthy of Theseus' attention. He says that the actors are talentless workingmen.

59. What does Theseus mean by the lines, "For never anything can be amiss, when simpleness and duty tender it"?
He means that whenever someone is dedicated to doing something simple, he will get it done without fail.

60. What is accomplished by having the Prologue tell the whole story that the actors are then going to enact?
The prologue allows the women to ready themselves for the death of two people, and not be scared of the lion or the deaths.

61. How does Shakespeare use comments from the audience to enhance the humour of the play that they are watching?
Shakespeare sometimes have them mock the playmakers, and sometimes he has the audience compliment them. This enhances the humour by inviting the reader to play along with what they characters are saying, to jump on the bandwagon and mock the actors of Pyramus and Thisbe also.

62. What is Hippolyta’s reaction to the play?
Hippolyta thinks that the play is silly.

63. In what way is Thisbe’s final speech humorous?
Thisbe walks up to Ninus' tmb and finds Pyramus, dead. Then she comically asks the corpse, "Are you sleeping?".

64. What does Oberon tell the fairies to do?
Oberon tells the fairies to stray around the house, "blessing" everything and everyone they see.

65. What is the purpose of Puck’s final speech?
The purpose of Puck's final speech is to close the play off, and apologize for any offence.

Extending the thought process:

FInd at least one example of each of the following that occurs during the play within the play. Write down the quote that illustrates examples.

Excessive alliteration- Line 149, 150 - "...with bloody blameful blade, he bravely broached his boiling bloody breast."

Breaking the play’s illusion of reality- Line 220-228 -
"You, ladies, you, whose gentle hearts do fear
The smallest monstrous mouse that creeps on floor,
May now perchance both quake and tremble here,
When lion rough in wildest rage doth roar.
Then know that I, one Snug the joiner, am
A lion-fell, nor else no lion's dam;
For, if I should as lion come in strife
Into this place, 'twere pity on my life."

Using the wrong word or name- Line 199 - "And, like Limander, am I trusty still." (should be Leander)

Repeating a word excessively- Line 174 - "Alack, alack, alack!"

Ridiculous metaphor- Line 194 - "I see a voice."


a) In reading the play-within-a-play, we become the audience for the drama played out by Theseus, Hippolyta, and the others. These performers, in turn, form the audience for the reenactment of Pyramus and Thisbe. How does observing another audience help you understand the relationship between audience and performers?

Observing another audience allows you to see the reaction of the audience, and compare it with your reactions to the play or plays.


b) Modern television shows often create comic effects by having a silly, innocent, or “clueless” character and a sarcastic, knowing, clever character play off of each other. What examples can you think of?

Spongebob Sqaurepants. Spongebob is a complete and total idiot, and Squidward both hates him and loves to mess with him.


c) Identify ways in which Pyramus and Thisbe might be unsuitable for a wedding celebration. Are there any ways in which the play might be appropriate? In what ways is the play-within-a-play an ironic commentary on what the two pairs of young lovers (Demetrius and Helena, Lysander and Hermia) have gone through earlier?

It's probably not the best idea to have a play about two lovers that both die... this insinuates that Theseus and Hippolyta will both die in some gruesome and pointless way.

Completion 10/10
Effort 7/10
Content7/10

total: 24/30