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A Midsummer Night’s Dream

William Shakespeare

Key Facts

Main ideas Key Facts

full title  · A Midsummer Night’s Dream

author  · William Shakespeare

type of work  · Play

genres  · Comedy; fantasy; romance; farce

language  · English

time and place written  · London, 1594 or 1595

date of first publication  · 1600

publisher  · Thomas Fisher

narrator  · None

climax  · In the strictest sense, there is no real climax, as the conflicts of the play are all resolved swiftly by magical means in Act IV; the moment of greatest tension is probably the quarrel between the lovers in Act III, scene ii.

protagonist  · Because there are three main groups of characters, there is no single protagonist in the play; however, Puck is generally considered the most important character.

antagonist  · None; the play’s tensions are mostly the result of circumstances, accidents, and mistakes.

settings (time) · Combines elements of Ancient Greece with elements of Renaissance England

settings (place) · Athens and the forest outside its walls

point of view  · Varies from scene to scene

falling action  · Act V, scene i, which centers on the craftsmen’s play

tense  · Present

foreshadowing  · Comments made in Act I, scene i about the difficulties that lovers face

tones  · Romantic; comedic; fantastic; satirical; dreamlike; joyful; farcical

symbols  · Theseus and Hippolyta represent order, stability, and wakefulness; Theseus’s hounds represent the coming of morning; Oberon’s love potion represents the power and instability of love.

themes  · The difficulties of love; magic; the nature of dreams; the relationships between fantasy and reality and between environment and experience

motifs  · Love out of balance; contrast (juxtaposed opposites, such as beautiful and ugly, short and tall, clumsy and graceful, ethereal and earthy)