'A Midsummer Night's Dream' Act 4, Scene 1 Summary

Act 4 Scene 1

Titania is lavishing praise on to Bottom, Bottom is ordering the fairies to meet his every whim. Titania and Bottom are tired after listening to some music, they fall to sleep. Puck and Oberon enter.

Oberon feels guilty about what he has done to Titania; he has made her dote on a bumptious fool. He fell out with her in the wood having found that she had crowned the ass’ head with a floral wreath.

He had taunted her about it then asked for the changeling child. She handed him over and now that he has the boy he will undo the magic that has disgraced Titania. He also asks Puck to remove the ass’ head from Bottom and send him back to Athen’s where he will return believing that all that has happened was a dream. He drops the juice on Titania’s eyes.

Titania wakes and tells Oberon that; "Methought I was enamoured of an ass." Oberon points to Bottom and says there he lies, Titania says that she now loathes him. Oberon orders Puck to take off the ass’ head. Music plays and Oberon and Titania dance. Oberon says that tomorrow they will dance at Theseus’ wedding and bless his house. There the lovers will marry with Theseus and everyone will be happy.

Puck tells the group it will soon be morning and Oberon tells Titania that they will go swiftly. Titania asks him to tell her what has happened;

Titania: "Come my lord, and in our flight tell me how it came this night that I sleeping here was found with these mortals on the ground."

Oberon and Titania exit the sleepers lie still. Theseus and Egeus enter with Hyppolyta they are hunting in the woods. They find Lysander, Demetrius, Hermia and Helena asleep and think that they must have come to celebrate May morning.

Theseus asks Egeus if this is the day where Hermia must make her decision. Egeus tells him that it is. Theseus asks the huntsman to wake them with their horns.

The lovers wake. Lysander kneels and when asked to explain himself finds it heard to remember. He then confesses to coming with Hermia to escape Athenian law. Egeus is outraged and says that the law should deal with this man who has tried to elope with his daughter against his wishes.

Demetrius tells Theseus that Helena told him of the elopement and he followed the couple into the wood and that Helena in fondness followed him. When he got to the wood, his love for Hermia melted away and returned for Helena who he was previously betrothed to. He says that his love for Hermia was like a sickness but now he is well again he loves Helena.

Theseus tells the lovers that he wants to hear more, that Egeus should forbear until he has heard the full story.

The lovers say they will recount their strange dreams to one another on the way to the temple.

Bottom wakes and speaks about the play he is about to recount his lines when he realises he has had a very strange dream. He says he wont recount it but that Peter Quince could write a ballad about it and call it Bottom’s dream.

He says the ballad could be sung at the nuptials.

Looking for the next scene? Please visit our Study Guide, where you can find a full list of all scene by scene guides to Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night’s Dream. This scene by scene guide is designed to read alongside the play and act as a companion to the original text.

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Jamieson, Lee. "'A Midsummer Night's Dream' Act 4, Scene 1 Summary." ThoughtCo, Sep. 1, 2015, thoughtco.com/a-midsummer-nights-dream-2984586. Jamieson, Lee. (2015, September 1). 'A Midsummer Night's Dream' Act 4, Scene 1 Summary. Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/a-midsummer-nights-dream-2984586 Jamieson, Lee. "'A Midsummer Night's Dream' Act 4, Scene 1 Summary." ThoughtCo. https://www.thoughtco.com/a-midsummer-nights-dream-2984586 (accessed November 20, 2017).