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\Studyworld\ Studyworld Studynotes \ Midsummer Night's Dream, A:
Scene 4.1

Titania continues to adore the ridiculous Bottom with comic excess, petting him and garlanding his ass-head with flowers, and offering to "kiss thy large fair ears, my gentle joy." Bottom is beginning to get used to the fairy attendants who wait on him - he's never had it so good! - ordering them to scratch his face, play music for him, and satisfy his inexplicable craving for hay. Finally, the lovers fall asleep in each other's arms. Oberon observes all this and admits to Puck that he's beginning to feel a small amount of "pity" for Titania. He tells Puck that he met Titania earlier in the woods, and that she gave up the "changeling boy" without a fight - she was too busy gathering flowers for Bottom's crown! Now that Oberon has the boy, he announces that he is ready to "undo / This hateful imperfection of [Titania's] eyes." We sense that Oberon feels not so much pity as jealousy -- Titania is supposed to love him, not a donkey-headed weaver. He is thus very eager to give the love-juice antidote to his "sweet queen," bidding her to "Be as thou wast wont to be / See as thou wast wont to see." He is delighted when Titania wakes up his once more, crying "My Oberon, what visions have I seen! / Methought I was enamored of an ass!" Oberon bids Titania to take his hand, serenading her to fairy music with a song about the happy ending that will soon ensue for all:

Now thou and I are new in amity,

And will tomorrow midnight solemnly

Dance in Duke Theseus' house triumphantly

And bless it to all fair prosperity.

There shall the pairs of faithful lovers be

Wedded with Theseus in all jollity.

As if we hadn't had enough coincidental meetings in the woods, now Theseus, Hippolyta and Egeus arrive in the woods, taking part in a hunting expedition (apparently, Egeus isn't too upset about his daughter's disappearance!). To their considerable surprise, the nobles discover Hermia, Helena, Demetrius and Lysander all sleeping on the ground - Theseus imagines that the four have risen to "observe / The rite of May," and bids the huntsmen to awake the four lovers with their horns. Theseus immediately asks why Lysander and Demetrius, formerly such bitter enemies, happen to be sleeping near each other in "gentle concord." Lysander explains, "amazedly / Half sleep, half waking," that he went to the woods to elope with Hermia (the antidote seems to have worked - Lysander seems to love Hermia once more). Egeus is enraged, and tells Demetrius that they should seek legal action against Hermia. Demetrius, however, after admitting that he went to the woods to follow Hermia, recounts how his love for Hermia, "I know by what power," suddenly "melted as the snow," and was replaced by a stronger love for Helena. He compares his love for Helena to a liking for certain food: "in sickness did I loathe this food, / But, as in health come to my natural taste, / Now I do wish it, love it, long for it."

Theseus seems satisfied with this explanation and suggests that the two couples get married at the same nuptial festivities that are planned for himself and Hippolyta - a triple wedding! The two pairs of lovers leave together, commenting on the dreamlike peculiarities of the previous night. "Are you sure / We are awake?" Demetrius asks, commenting that "it seems to me / That yet we sleep, we dream." This seems the general consensus among the lovers as they head for the temple of Theseus. Nevertheless, none of the four seem to question matters too much: Helena and Hermia make up, Hermia and Lysander forget anything ever happened to interrupt their love, Demetrius forgets that he ever loved anyone but Helena, while Helena forgives Demetrius for treating her like dirt for so long. An unlikely conclusion, but certainly a happy one.

The scene ends with Bottom's awakening alone on stage with neither a Fairy Queen or a donkey head anywhere to be found. Bottom opens his eyes and, without missing a beat, continues to speak as if the forest rehearsal with the other rustic performers had never stopped: "When my cue comes, call me, and I will answer. . . " He soon realizes that none of his company are around, and suddenly remembers that he had what he calls "a most rare vision." He tries to remember the details of his vision, but concludes (in another inadvertent pun), "Man is but an ass if he go about to expound this dream." He decides that he will have Peter Quince write a ballet called "Bottom's Dream" for performance at the Duke's wedding, and leaves to find his fellow players.

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Scene 4.1
Scene 4.2
Scene 5.1



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