The second half of our summer project was to read A Midsummer Night's Dream written by William Shakespeare. I found this book very interesting, yet difficult to comprehend at some parts, but side notes helped sort confusion.
The novel begins as Theseus, the Duke of the Athens is preparing to marry Hippolyta in a couple days. Soon Egeus arrives at the palace to share with Theseus problems he's been having with his daughter Hermia. Hermia wants to marry Lysander, but her father wants to be wed to Demetrius, and under the law Hermia must marry the man her father chooses, otherwise she'll be put to death or become a nun. Theseus gives Hermia a few days to decide. After hearing the verdict, Hermia and Lysander devise a plan to run away. Before starting to the forest, Hermia confides in Helena, who is in love with Demetrius, of her and Lysander's flight to the woods.
Hoping that sharing this info with Demetrius will better her chances, Helena tells him, and the chase begins.
Meanwhile in the forest, the king and queen of fairies, Oberon and Titania are arguing. An angry Oberon sends his servant Puck to find a pansy which when applied to Titania's while she is sleeping will make her fall in love with the first living thing she sees, Oberon also has Puck put it on Demetrius' eyes so when he wakes up he will love Helena. Tired and lost, Hermia and Lysander take a rest. Mistakenly Puck puts the pansy juice on Lysander's eyes and he is awakened by Helena who thinks he is hurt; he immediately falls in love with her. Still causing trouble Puck puts a donkey head on a man in the forest who is practicing for a play that will be presented at Theseus' and Hippolyta's wedding, and when Titania awakens she falls in love with the so called "donkey man," also known as Bottom the weaver. Trying to solve things, Puck also goes back and applies it to Demetrius' eyes who then also falls in love with Helena, which only causes more complications and Puck has to separate the lovers before they all kill each other. Oberon realizing things need to be fixed applies the pansy juice to Titania and Lysander's eyes, so the appropriate people will love each other. With things solved, everyone goes back to the Theseus' palace to watch the play turn out horribly but they don't care, they all appreciate the effort.
There are many characters in this novel, including Theseus, the Duke of Athens who is engaged to Hippolyta, an Amazon warrior. Demetrius and Lysander are the two men in love with Hermia, opposite personalities keep them from becoming friends until Demetrius is influenced by the pansy juice and Lysander isn't. Helena is Hermia's good friend who is in love with Demetrius and will do anything for him even though he doesn't return the love, Hermia is the daughter of Egeus, who disobeys her father and loves Lysander. Bottom the weaver is the man Titania falls in love with while she is under the love spell. Titania and Oberon are the leaders of the fairies and are in love, just argue a lot, and puck is Oberon's servant and the person responsible for the love confusions. Many more characters do pop up occasionally in this novel, yet aren't important. The setting in this novel is very simple, it's set in Athens during the Elizabethan age, everything is played out in Theseus' palace; or in the woods, in the middle of the night.
This novel is well-known for some of the very famous quotes that are said in here which actually play important roles in this work of Shakespeare's. For example when Puck says "Lord, what fools these mortals be," this is important because it shows how the fairies can control things and feel as though they can look down upon human beings, and the whole confusion in the story happens because of the fairies messing around. Another famous quote is said by Lysander "The course of love never did run smooth," he says this when explaining to Hermia that they might have to overcome obstacles but they will end up together. This quote applies to every love situation in the book, as well other Shakespeare novels. I also feel this quote is appropriate to be called the theme of the book. Hermia, Lysander, Demetrius, and Helena all go through this; as well as Oberon and Titania and short lived affection for Bottom.
Overall I felt that this novel was written very vividly by Shakespeare and his symbolism in the book reflected his creativity. Even though it was difficult at times to grasp the context of the novel, I did enjoy reading it and I thought it was very imaginative.