A Midsummer Night’s Dream

by: William Shakespeare

Protagonist

Main ideas Protagonist

As a comedy featuring an ensemble cast of characters, A Midsummer Night’s Dream lacks an obvious protagonist. The action of the play shifts between three primary groups, and each of these groups—the Athenian nobles, the fairies, and the craftsmen—plays a crucial role in the story. That said, it is possible to argue that Hermia, Helena, and Lysander represent the play’s protagonists. Ultimately, the play is most concerned with securing proper love matches for these three characters, and ends with all of them happily married to the appropriate partner. Hermia, Helena, and Lysander all know what they want from the start of the play. Hermia and Lysander openly profess their love for each other, and although Demetrius doesn’t return her affection, Helena feels sure of her love for Demetrius. Over the course of the play, Hermia, Lysander, and Helena must struggle against external forces undermining their affections. They fight against the patriarchal law of Athens and against the fairy mischief that besets them in the forest. By the end of their wild night in the forest, after fairy magic sets the love pairs aright and Theseus accepts the new couplings, everyone to return safely and happily to Athens.