Dreams play a major role in A Midsummer Night’s Dream—both as a theme and as a literary
device Shakespeare uses to explore the nature of reality. The subject of dreams was no
less captivating and mysterious in Shakespeare’s time than it is today. This handout gives
students important background information on dreams and dreaming in the sixteenth
century, beginning with a brief overview of the history of the art of dream interpretation in
human culture; evidence of how this art was alive and well in Shakespeare’s time; and how
the topic continues to be explored today with Sigmund Freud’s The Interpretation of Dreams.
Students are also given a brief overview of recent scientific theories about how and why
we dream. Use this handout to spark discussion and debate in your classroom and allow
students to express their own personal experiences and theories related to dreams and

Get the worksheets for this lesson (plus much more!) in the printed SparkTeach guide for A Midsummer Night's Dream.