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A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Character List. Puck , or Robin Goodfellow. Puck is the mischievous sprite who serves Oberon , the Fairy King . He enjoys playing practical jokes on people and sets in motion all of the comical mis -understandings. He also restores order at the end of the play.

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puck or robin goodfellow
Puck, or Robin Goodfellow

Puck is the mischievous sprite who serves Oberon, the Fairy King.

He enjoys playing practical jokes on people and sets in motion all of the comical mis-understandings. He also restores order at the end of the play.

nick bottom a weaver
Nick Bottom, a weaver

During play rehearsal, Bottom's head is transformed (by Puck) into that of an "ass" (donkey), making him the butt of the play's biggest joke. Of course, the joke's not just on Bottom – it's on Titania too because she's been charmed with Oberon's love juice and has a romantic relationship with an "ass."

He has no idea he’s been transformed!

theseus duke of athens
Theseus, Duke of Athens
  • Theseus is the Duke of Athens, and consequently the most powerful character in the courtly realm of the play. As the Duke of Athens, he's also the play's resident Judge Judy, so he's all about upholding law and order.
  • Egeusturns to him when his unruly daughter (Hermia) refuses to marry the guy he's chosen for her. In this case, Egeus begs Theseus to uphold Athenian law, which dictates the death penalty for disobedient children:
egeus father to hermia
Egeus, father to Hermia
  • Hermia’s father, who brings a complaint against his daughter to Theseus
  • Egeushas given Demetrius permission to marry Hermia, but Hermia, in love with Lysander, refuses to marry Demetrius. Egeus’s severe insistence that Hermia either respect his wishes or be held accountable to Athenian law places him squarely outside the whimsical dream realm of the forest.
hippolyta queen of the amazons betrothed to theseus
Hippolyta, queen of the Amazons, betrothed to Theseus

Hippolytamarries Theseus (off-stage in Act 4, Scene 1). Aside from the implications of Hippolyta's submission to Theseus, this bride-to-be doesn't play a major role in how the plot unfolds. Hippolyta also seems to be a bit of a romantic. Also, Hippolyta is one of the few people who actually believes the young lovers' account of their zany night in the woods. Even though Hippolyta is sympathetic to the young lovers (all nobles), she turns out to be quite a snob.

oberon king of the fairies ladies man
Oberon, king of the fairies (ladies man)

Oberon is King of the Fairies, master of Puck, and husband of Titania(in a seemingly open relationship). Oberon only helps the lovers out after he's had a good laugh at their expense. It doesn't look so good when Titania refuses to hand over her foster child, so he sprinkles love juice in her eyes and makes her fall in love with an "ass“.

Oberon seems to pursue romance as if it were a favorite sport or hobby, which tells us that he (like Theseus) has a thing for making conquests out of women. Oberon's promiscuity also shows us that you don't need magic "love juice" to quickly fall in and out of romantic relationships.

titania queen of the fairies
Titania, queen of the fairies

Titania is Queen of the Fairies, wife of Oberon. Despite her marriage to Oberon, and the fact that they kind of share the whole ruling-the-fairy-kingdom gig, they spend quite a bit of time apart and have several non-spouse overnight guests during the process. Titania has distinct parallels with Hippolyta, another queen who was subdued by an over-eager suitor. The Titania we know disappears when she becomes the fawning creature in love with Bottom (remember, he was transformed into a donkey).

lysander demetrius in love with hermia
Lysander, Demetrius, in love with Hermia

Lysander is Hermia's boyfriend and he really wants to get hitched. Since Hermia's dad isn't having it, Lysander runs off with Hermia to elope. In the woods, he's drugged (by mistake) when Puck squeezes love juice in his eyes, causing him to love Helena until Puck finally gives him an antidote.

Lysander is a lot like Romeo—a hopeless romantic. His love is challenged by Demetrius (who is also in love with Hermia). After Puck sloshes the magic love juice all over the woods and Lysander and Demetrius go chasing after the same girl, it's really hard to tell the difference between the two guys. As much as the lovers like to think that they are unique, Shakespeare basically tells us that all foolish young lovers are alike.

hermia daughter to egeus in love with lysander
Hermia, daughter to Egeus, in love with Lysander

The disobedient daughter of Egeus. She's supposed to marry Demetrius (remember, her father will have her killed if she doesn’t—it’s the law), but she's fallen in love with Lysander.

Throughout the play, Hermia has to deal with her love being thwarted in one way or another. First, her father doesn't want her to marry Lysander. Then Lysander seems to no longer love her. Thinking this is Helena's doing, Hermia's willing to fight Helena (no matter the cost to their friendship) because, in her book, love is worth fighting for. Even after Lysander has deserted her, Hermia's final thoughts before going to sleep in the forest are of Lysander; she prays for his safety rather than cursing him.

demetrius
Demetrius

Demetriusis engaged to Hermia...who, for her part, doesn't want anything to do with him. In the play, he's dosed with Oberon's magic love juice and falls madly in love with Helena, whom he eventually marries.

When we meet Demetrius, he's busy insisting that Hermia should be legally forced to marry him. Then, we find out that Demetrius once romanced Helena, but ditched her so that he could get engaged to Hermia, which tells us that Demetrius, is seriously fickle. Demetrius is also pretty abusive and insensitive to Helena when she refuses to give up on him. Here's how he handles her: First, he tells her flat out that he doesn't love her and never will be able to love her. Then, he informs her that she makes him sick when he looks at her.

helena in love with demetrius
Helena, in love with Demetrius

Shakespeare introduces Helena to us as the character that nobody loves.

In the play, even when Demetrius and Lysander both fall for Helena, she can't believe them. It seems Helenahas spent so much time rationalizing why she isn't loved that, when the thing comes along (real or not), she can't embrace it and enjoy it for what it is. She becomes even more self-pitying when she believes that she has gone from a loner to a joke. Even at the end of the play, when Demetrius still loves her (remember he was really mean t her), Helena is skeptical.

the actors peter quince a carpenter francis flute a bellows mender
THE ACTORSPeter Quince, a carpenterFrancis Flute, a bellows-mender
  • Quince: A carpenter and the nominal leader of the craftsmen’s attempt to put on a play for Theseus’s marriage celebration. Quince is often shoved aside by the abundantly confident Bottom. During the craftsmen’s play, Quince plays the Prologue.
  • Flute: The bellows-mender chosen to play Thisbe in the craftsmen’s play for Theseus’s marriage celebration. Forced to play a young girl in love, the bearded craftsman determines to speak his lines in a high, squeaky voice.
the actors cont robin starveling a tailor snug a joiner
THE ACTORS cont…Robin Starveling, a tailorSnug, a joiner
  • Starveling: As one of the not-so-talented Mechanicals, Starveling plays the role of Moonshine in Pyramus and Thisbe.
  • Snug: During Pyramus and Thisbe, the "play within the play," Snug is quick to point out that the ladies in the audience should not fear, because, although he may act the role of the lion, he is none other than Snug the Joiner.
the actors cont tom snout a tinker
THE ACTORS cont..Tom Snout, a tinker

The tinker chosen to play Pyramus’s father in the craftsmen’s play for Theseus’s marriage celebration. He ends up playing the part of Wall, dividing the two lovers.

philostrate master of the revels to theseus
Philostrate, master of the revels to Theseus
  • Philostrate is Duke Theseus's party planner. His official title is "Master of the Revels," which happened to be a court appointed position in Shakespeare's day. Basically, the Master of the Revels organized courtly entertainments and also determined which play could be performed at court and on public stages. Because plays weren't supposed to be rebellious or offensive to the monarch, this job also entailed a fair amount of censorship.
  • In the play, Philostrate doesn't think the Mechanical's play is worthy of a court performance in honor of Theseus's wedding. When Theseus demands to see it, Philostrate replies like a snob: "No, my noble lord; / It is not for you: I have heard it over, / And it is nothing, nothing in the world;" (5.1.4). Is Shakespeare bagging on the uptight masters of revels who determined which plays could be performed in London? You decide.
peaseblossom cobweb moth mustardseed fairies
PeaseBlossom, Cobweb, Moth, Mustardseed, fairies
  • The fairies ordered by Titania to attend to Bottom after she falls in love with him.