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c. 1595 or 1596, by William Shakespeare
The play is set in Athens, and consists of several subplots that revolve around the marriage of Theseus and Hippolyta. One subplot involves a conflict among four Athenian lovers. Another follows a group of six amateur actors rehearsing the play which they are to perform before the wedding. Both groups find themselves in a forest inhabited by fairies who manipulate the humans and are engaged in their own domestic intrigue.
The main themes and motifs of the play are: lovers' bliss, carnivalesque, love, problem with time, loss of individual identity, ambiguous sexuality, and feminism.
Theseus, Puck, Oberon, Titania, Lysander, Demetrius, Hermia, Helena, Egeus, Philostrate, Peter Quince, Nick Bottom, Francis Flute, Tom Snout, Snug
Though it is not a translation or adaptation of an earlier work, various sources such as Ovid's Metamorphoses and Chaucer's "The Knight's Tale" served as inspiration. Aristophanes' classical Greek comedy The Birds (also set in the countryside near Athens) has been proposed as a source due to the fact that both Procne and Titania are awakened by male characters (Hoopoe and Bottom the Weaver) who have animal heads and who sing two-stanza songs about birds.
One of the “great” or “middle” comedies, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, with its multilayered examination of love and its vagaries, has long been one of the most popular of Shakespeare’s plays.
“Love looks not with the eyes, but with the mind,
And therefore is winged Cupid painted blind.”
“Though she be but little, she is fierce!”
“The course of true love never did run smooth.”
“And yet,to say the truth, reason and love keep little company together nowadays.”
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