Have you ever read Shakespeare’s “A Midsummer Nights Dream?” I bet you have in school. It is a very popular piece from Shakespeare that is very well known. In this text I will be giving a summary of the play, a comparison of the movie and the play, and which one I liked the best.
I will start off by summarizing the play act by act. In the whole play there are five acts with two scenes in them. In act one scene one, it starts off with the Duke of Athens, Theseus and his soon-to-be wife talking about their wedding in four days. They get interrupted by the angry father of Hermia with a problem. Hermia’s father Egeus is furious with his daughter wants to marry Lysander instead of Demetrius. He comes to Theseus with this situation and states that Hermia has three options to marry Demetrius like her father intended, live out the rest of her life as a nun, or death. Theseus backs Egeus and tells Hermia she should obey her father. Once Lysander and Hermia get a moment alone, Lysander proposes Hermia and him run away the night after. Hermia tells Helena, a close friend, about these plans. Helena is obsessed with Demetrius and wants him for herself so she figures if she tells Demetrius about this, he will want her as she wants him. Now we are moving into a different part of the story. This is where we are moving into scene two of act one, where six new characters are are introduced, Peter Quince, Nick Bottom, Francis Flute, Tom Snout, Robin Straveling, and Snug. These characters are commoners, townspeople that have no experience in acting. Even with their lack of the ability to act, they are planning to put on a show named “Pyramus and Thisbe” for the Duke, Theseus’s wedding. In this scene, the group is just selecting what character is playing what roles. This act is definitely in the “Exposition” stage on the Freytang’s Triangle.
Act two scene two is set in the woods. We are presented with Oberon the King of Fairies, Puck his servant, Titania the Queen of Fairies, and her fairy servants. The act begins with Puck, also known as Robin Goodfellow, talking to one of Titania’s fairy servants. He is telling her to keep Titania away from Oberon, they are very angry with each other. Titania stole a little Indian boy and now Oberon wants the boy but Titania won’t give him up. Puck goes in to tell the fairy about the mischievous pranks and tricks he plays on humans. The fairies are interrupted when Titania and Oberon enter the scene. Oberon and Titania meet in the outskirts of Athens to ask one another why they are there so close to the marriage of Theseus and hippolyta. Titania makes the remark that Oberon is in love with Hippolyta and in kind, Oberon states that Tatiana is infatuated by Theseus. The conversation turns to the Indian child, Oberon is still wanting to take him and Titania, out of respect for the boy’s mother, will not give him up. Titania leaves and a huff, leaving Oberon in a fit of rage vowing to exact his karma upon her. Oberon sends Puck in search of a flower once struck from the quiver of Cupid. Once this essence covers the iris would make that mortal have a deep adoration for the being at first sight. Oberon devises a plan to make Titania fall in love with a creature of low desire, and will not lift the curse until their Indian boy is yielded to him. In the beginning of scene two, as Robin Goodfellow flies under the canopy of the glade in search of the flower ordered to be found by his master when Demetrius and Helena find themselves in the same location as Oberon. Oberon turns himself invisible to overhear them. Demetrius proclaims Helena must leave him alone at once for he has no affection for her nor ever will and loves another. As the two move along, Oberon remarks that before the setting of the sun he will be pursuing her. Puck comes over to Oberon with the flower. Oberon puts the essence in Titania’s eyes. Puck is sent to find an Athenian to use the flower’s essence on to fall for a girl. Puck is hard at work searching and is about to give up when he happens upon Lysander and Hermia confusing the two for the Athenians he was looking for so uses the spell on Lysander. In the new dawn, Lysander awakens with the love for Helena claiming it to her. Now Hermia is confused and questions Lysander who in turn slandering her “proving“ his love for Helena. This paragraph is the start of action, the “Rising Action.”
Now moving into the 3 act, scene one is still in the woods, ow we see the common people rehearsing the play. They are discussing props & how they want to make this play the best they can. Bottom goes off a little more hidden in the woods to wait for his que. Puck comes across these fools & has a great laugh to himself. He decides to play one of his famous tricks & turn bottoms head into a donkey. Bottom walks out into the play & freighters all the other actors. They all run away in fear & bottom is very confused why. They come back to tell him what happened, he is so arrogant he doesn’t believe them. He starts to sing a sing to “prove he isn’t scared. “ His singing wakes up Titania, she gets up to see who it is & she spots bottom & instantly falls I. Love with him. Titania professes her love to him & takes her back to her bed & promises her fairy servants will serve him. They are both having a great time & Titania asks the fairies to leave them alone to sleep. Scene 2 is in a different part of the woods but this time we start in the middle of Puck expressing how well Oberon’s plan went with Titania. Oberon is glad to hear this, at the same time Hermia runs into Demetrius while trying to find Lysander in the woods. Both pick & Oberon are confused as to why they are seeing these two Athenians who were not paired before come together. They realize pucks mistake & make a plan to set it right. Meanwhile, Hermia is interrogating Demetrius on Lysander whereabouts. Demetrius says very bitterly he does not know where he is, he realizes Hermia is not going to calm down so after she storms off, Demetrius lies down. Once Hermia leaves, Puck puts the flower juice into Demetrius eyes & good to find Helena. Lysander & Helena are close by, they inter the clearing where Demetrius is sleeping. The talking wakes up Demetrius & he sees Lysander still professing his love for Helena. Demetrius eyes first sees Helena, causing him to fall in love with her as well. This causes the men to argue & fight over Helena, and The Who.e time Helena is still under the impression that they are mocking her. Hermia hears all the commotion & follows it to find the love of her life loving another. Hermia is questioning Lysander & it trying to figure out why he has changed his mind all of a sudden, Helena now believes Hermia is in on the “joke” also. Helena and Hermia are not fighting, the men want to dual each other, & everyone is mad & hurt. Everyone goes in different directions storming off. Oberon orders Puck to veer Lysander & Demetrius away from one another so no fights break out. Lysander gets exsausted & thrown off track, then ends up falling asleep. Puck is now following Demetrius around, the same thing happens & Demetrius falls asleep. Once everyone is asleep, Puck “squeezes” out the juice from Lysander eyes so everything will be right again by sunrise. This paragraph is the Climax of the story, everything will start to die down after this point.
Some time has passed, in the beginning of act four we see Titania telling bottom to lie down on her lap so she can twine his hair with roses and “kiss his large ears.” Bottom and Titania both order the servants to get them food, to do services for them, to assist them in achieving what they desire. They lie down once again and fall asleep. Oberon and Puck are bantering about how successful their little trick on Titania was. Oberon simply had to ask for the Indian boy and she gave the child up in a heartbeat. Oberon has finally had his fun and now he is going to reverse the spell. Titania wakes up to find an ass sleeping next to her. She leaves to go dance with Oberon and abandons Bottom. Puck speaks a chant to reverse the curse on bottoms head. Later on in the morning, Theseus, as well as Hippolyta and Egeus, make their way into the forest for a hunt. His hounds grab the scent of the young Athenians and startles Theseus. They ride closely behind the hounds only to find Demetrius, Helena, Lysander, and Hermia. Everyone awakes and Theseus demands to know why they are out sleeping in the woods. None of them can remember clearly what exactly happened the night before. All that is said is Demetrius and Helena are in love, Lysander and Hermia the same. Theseus proposes they will all get married along with Theseus and orders that they follow him to the temple for a feast. Bottom wakes up shortly after and proclaims he had an amazing dream and he will give all the details to quince for him to write a ballad to sing after the play. Starting scene two, the craftsmen are worried about their missing friend Bottom. They conspire that he may have been attacked, or even killed. They wonder if the play will still be put on if their beloved friend never comes back. Snug tells the group about the news from the wedding, the Duke has gotten married along with two other couples. Just then Bottom arrives ready to tell this wondrous story from the woods he has to offer. The men are excited to see him and want to hear all about his anecdotes. There is no time for this, though, they need to get ready to put on this play. This paragraph would be labeled as the “Falling Action” on the Freytang’s Pyramid.
Last but not least, we have act five. After hearing what he could about the Athenians story, Theseus states he does not believe it in the slightest. Hippolyta says although it may not be true, it is very strange how they all had the same story to tell. Their wedding celebration is coming to an end, before they head off to bed Theseus says they will watch an entertaining show. He calls over Philostrate, his assistant, to have him read a list of plays to pick from. None of the plays on the list interest Theseus, but Philostrate informs him about the Pyramus and Thisbe performance, strongly advising him to not choose it, for it is horrible in every aspect. Theseus does not listen and wants to watch it anyways, for the reason that if the actors have good intentions, it cannot possibly be so terrible. Everyone gathers around to watch this play and Quince starts with a prologue. As the play goes on, it is as atrocious as expected. The audience goes on to criticize and laugh throughout the whole show. Bottom gives Theseus the option of whether they want to hear the epilogue or watch an ending dance. Theseus chooses the dance and after everyone heads off to bed. This is the very end of Shakespeare’s play, a happy ending. Now that you know the written version of this story, let me compare the BBC 2016 film to the text.
There are many differences and similarities between the written play and the 2016 BBC film. One of the differences I noticed right away was Hippolyta seemed forced to marry Theseus, she was in a straight jacket, she had to be wheeled into the room to talk to Theseus. The tension between the two was very high and noticeable. The world in the movie is a lot more modern than in the play. There are scenes with higher technology like iPads. In the play, everything was a lot more mellow. For example, in the movie Oberon’s first entrance was very dramatic with lighting effects and loud thunder sounds. There are special effects and crazy music to make things more exciting. There is a scene in the movie where Demetrius falls in love with Lysander for a few minutes by the love juice. In the play, this never happened. One of the biggest differences in the whole movie was Theseus dies at the end of the film. There are plenty more differences you can find within the play and the movie. There are less similarities, but here are a few I found. For one, the plot is very much the same. Nothing too major changed as far as the actual story itself. One example could be, bottom turns into an “ass” in both the movie and the play. The characters stayed the same throughout the movie and the written play as well. Yet, I enjoyed the interactions between the characters far better in the movie.
Despite the differences and similarities, I like the movie better than the written play. The movie was a lot more interesting, a lot more exciting than reading a play. When I was reading the play, It was harder to imagine how the characters talked and acted towards each other. My favorite scene was when the play within a play was starting, everyone sat down and enjoyed a horribly put together play. I adore that the movie decided to put in interracial couples in the film. There were a total of three couples that were interracial, Titania and Oberon, Helena and Demetrius, as well as Hermia and Lysander. I found the different twists and turns throughout the film very entertaining. A few examples would be when Demetrius accidentally fell in love with Lysander, or when Theseus dies at the very end. I personally don’t like the written play because it is not as exciting as the movie, the movie managed to keep the same old story but improve it and make it better.
A Midsummer Night’s Dream is a great read, or watch. There is no question why this story is still very popular and is still being taught to students in school. I have given you a summarization, a comparison, and my own personal opinion so now you can create your own thoughts. The only resources I used was the written play, the movie, & my own thoughts.