Philip Weller caricature
Philip and Weller hugging

Welcome to my web site, now under development for more than twenty years.   
-- Philip Weller, November 13, 1941 - February 1, 2021
Dr. Weller, an Eastern Washington University professor of English and Shakespearean scholar for more than 50 years.

A Midsummer Night's Dream:  Scene Indexes

Quick Index:

Act 1, Scene 1

Act 1, Scene 2

Act 2, Scene 1

Act 2, Scene 2

Act 3, Scene 1

Act 3, Scene 2

Act 4, Scene 1

Act 4, Scene 2

Act 5, Scene 1

Annotated Index:

Act 1, Scene 1:
Eleanor Matsuura as Hippolyta
John Hannah as Theseus
     1.1.1 — Enter THESEUS, HIPPOLYTA, [PHILOSTRATE,] with others. — Theseus, having just won a war against the Amazons (in Greek myth, a tribe of warrior women), announces that he and Hippolyta, queen of the Amazons, will be married in four days, when the new moon appears, and he sends Philostrate, master of entertainments, out to "Stir up the Athenian youth to merriments," because he will marry Hippolyta "With pomp, with triumph and with revelling."
     1.1.20 S—  Enter EGEUS and his daughter HERMIA and LYSANDER and DEMETRIUS. — Egeus, an old and grouchy nobleman, demands his legal right to marry off his daughter to a man of his choosing. He wants to marry her to Demetrius, whom Hermia hates. As for Lysander, whom Hermia loves, Egeus claims that Lysander has used trinkets, love-songs, magical charms, and all sorts other such trifles to make her love him. Egeus asks Theseus to enforce a father's "ancient privilege of Athens," which allows him to have his daughter executed if she will not marry Demetrius.
     Theseus decides the case in Egeus' favor and tells Hermia to think it over until the day of the wedding between himself and Hippolyta. On that day, Hermia must be prepared to marry Demetrius, be executed, or live the life of a nun for ever after.
     Lysander pleads his case, pointing out that he is the equal of Demetrius, "as well derived as he, / As well possess'd," and Hermia loves him. Besides, Lysander says, Demetrius is a "spotted and inconstant man" because he has wooed Helena, and "won her soul," but now wants to marry Hermia.
     Theseus says he has heard of Demetrius's relationship with Helena, and had meant to speak with him about it, but that doesn't change his mind about the fate of Hermia; he tells her that she must prepare "To fit your fancies to your father's will / Or else the law of Athens yields you up— / Which by no means we may extenuate— / To death, or to a vow of single [celibate] life."
Hermia and Lysander
John Simmons
     1.1.127 —  Exeunt [all but LYSANDER and HERMIA]. — Lysander and Hermia bemoan their fate, which is just like all the tales in which "The course of true love never did run smooth." Then Lysander comes up with a plan: they will run away to his aunt's to be married, and meet in the wood outside of town to begin their journey.
     1.1.179 —  Enter HELENA. — Helena, who is notably tall, complains about her love-lorn state to Hermia, who is Helena's friend and notably short. (In Shakespeare's company the leading young women in the comedies were usually played by two boys, one of whom was quite short, and the other of whom was quite tall.) Helena wishes that she were just like Hermia, so that Demetrius would love her; she says to Hermia, "Were the world mine, Demetrius being bated, / The rest I'd give to be to you translated." Hermia and Lysander try to cheer her up by telling her that they plan to run away and get married, so Demetrius will never see Hermia again.
     1.1.226 —  Exit LYSANDER. — After Hermia and Lysander have left, Helena complains that she's just as worthy of Demetrius' love as Hermia is, and remembers that Demetrius swore love to her before he saw Hermia. Then Helena comes up with a plan: to win the favor of Demetrius, she will tell him about Hermia's plan to run away with Lysander. She knows that Demetrius will pursue Hermia into the woods, but she hopes that he will be so grateful for her information that he will love her again, and not Hermia.

Act 1, Scene 2:
     1.2.1 — Enter QUINCE the carpenter and SNUG the joiner and BOTTOM the weaver and FLUTE the bellows-mender and SNOUT the tinker and STARVELING the tailor. — Peter Quince and his crew of comic workmen make plans to present a play, The most lamentable comedy, and most cruel death of Pyramus and Thisby, in honor of Duke Theseus' wedding. (The story of Pyramus and Thisby is very much like the story of Romeo and Juliet; lovers commit suicide because they think the other is dead. In this case, Thisby kills herself because she sees a lion with a bloody mouth and thinks lion must have killed Pyramus.) Bottom is given the star part of Pyramus, but he also wants to play Thisby, and the lion. Peter Quince persuades him that he is too handsome to play anyone but Pyramus. After the parts are assigned, they agree to meet for rehearsal the next night in the palace wood.

Act 2, Scene 1:
Puck and Fairies
Joseph Noel Paton
     2.1.1 — Enter a FAIRY at one door and ROBIN GOODFELLOW [PUCK] at another. — Puck, a mischief-maker in the service of Oberon, the fairy king, encounters a fairy and asks, "whither wander you?" The fairy replies with a song about how she serves "the fairy queen, / To dew her orbs upon the green," then informs Puck that the fairy queen will soon arrive. Puck says that the fairy king "doth keep his revels here to-night," so the fairy queen better stay away because the fairy king is angry that the fairy queen won't let him have an Indian boy to join his train.
     The fairy asks if Puck isn't that "that shrewd and knavish sprite / Call'd Robin Goodfellow," and Puck answers that he is "that merry wanderer of the night," who plays harmless tricks on mortals for the amusement of Oberon, the fairy king. Then both the fairy king and fairy queen, with their trains, arrive.
     2.1.60 —  Enter the King of Fairies [OBERON] at one door with his TRAIN, and the Queen [TITANIA] at another with hers. — Oberon and Titania quarrel over who has been most to blame for their quarrel.
Quarrel of Oberon and Titania
Joseph Noel Paton
Titania says that their quarrel is making miserable weather for the mortals, and Oberon replies that Titania can solve the problem by handing over the "little changeling boy," but Titania refuses, and leaves.
     2.1.145 —  Exeunt [TITANIA with her TRAIN]. — Oberon makes a plan to torment Titania for the injury she is doing him. He sends Puck after a flower called "love-in-idleness," the juice of which "on sleeping eye-lids laid / Will make or man or woman madly dote / Upon the next live creature that it sees." His plan is to drop the juice into Titania's eyes when she is asleep, so that she will wake up and fall in love with an animal; he vows not to remove the charm until Titania gives the boy to him.
     2.1.188 —  Enter DEMETRIUS, HELENA following him. — Demetrius, rushing through the wood to find Hermia, is being followed by Helena, who is hopelessly in love with him. He tells her that looking at her makes him sick, and even threatens her, but when he runs away, Helena follows, exclaiming, "I'll follow thee and make a heaven of hell, / To die upon the hand I love so well."
     2.1.244 —  [Exit HELENA.] — Oberon, who has observed the scene between Demetrius and Helena, takes pity on Helena and promises that before Helena leaves the wood, "thou shalt fly him and he shall seek thy love." Puck returns with the flower which Oberon requested. Oberon tells of his plan to use it on Titania, and he instructs Puck to use it on Demetrius when the next creature he sees will be Helena. Puck will be able to identify Demetrius, says Oberon, "by the Athenian garments he hath on."

Act 2, Scene 2:
     2.2.1 — Enter TITANIA, Queen of Fairies, with her TRAIN. — Titania commands her troop of fairies to "Sing me now asleep; / Then to your offices and let me rest." They do so, and when they are gone and Titania is asleep, Oberon comes and squeezes the magical juice of the flower on her eyes. He hopes that she will wake "when some vile thing is near."
Frederick Howard Michael
     2.2.35 —  Enter LYSANDER and HERMIA. — Late at night, having lost their way in the wood, Lysander and Hermia decide they should take a rest. Hermia picks a spot, and Lysander wants to lie right next to her, but Hermia persuades him that he should lie "further off," because "Such separation as may well be said / Becomes a virtuous bachelor and a maid."
     2.2.65 —  Enter PUCK. — Puck complains that he has not been able to find the Athenian upon whom Oberon ordered him to apply the love-juice, but then he spies Lysander, whom he concludes must be the man, because he is wearing Athenian clothes, and because he is sleeping so far from Hermia, whom, Puck thinks, "durst not lie / Near this lack-love, this kill-courtesy." Puck applies the love-juice to Lysander's eyes, and leaves, saying, "So awake when I am gone; / For I must now to Oberon."
     2.2.84 —  Enter DEMETRIUS and HELENA, running. — Helena, chasing Demetrius, loses the chase. Demetrius runs away from her and she is "out of breath in this fond chase!" She complains that Hermia has bright eyes, and that hers are washed with tears, because of her hopeless love of Demetrius. Then she spots Lysander on the ground, wonders if he is dead or asleep, and wakes him. Awaking, Lysander (under the influence of the love juice) proclaims his love for Helena, and his hatred for Demetrius, whom he vows to kill. Helena is seriously distressed, because she fears for the life of Demetrius; she says to Lysander, "Yet Hermia still loves you: then be content." But Lysander is not content; he says, "I do repent / The tedious minutes I with her have spent." He continues to proclaim his hatred of Hermia, and his love of Helena. Helena concludes that Lysander is making fun of her. She exclaims, "O, that a lady, of one man refused, / Should of another therefore be abused!" — then she runs away.
     2.2.134 —  Exit [HELENA]. — Lysander sees that Helena has not seen Hermia. He tells the sleeping Hermia to keep on sleeping, and runs after Helena, vowing to "To honor Helen and to be her knight!"
     2.2.144 —  Exit [LYSANDER]. — After Lysander is gone, Hermia awakes in the middle of a bad dream; she says, "Methought a serpent eat my heart away, / And you sat smiling at his cruel prey." She wants Lysander to pluck the serpent from her breast, but discovers that he is gone, so she runs off into the woods to find him, crying, "Either death or you I'll find immediately."

Act 3, Scene 1:
     3.1.1 — Enter the Clowns [QUINCE, SNUG, BOTTOM, FLUTE, SNOUT, and STARVELING]. — Quince and his crew are in the woods, about to rehearse their play, but they get comically confused by questions of dramatic illusion and reality. Bottom is afraid that Pyramus' suicide for love will shock the ladies in the audience, but then he comes up with a solution to his own problem—they will write a prologue explaining that Pyramus is not really Pyramus, but Bottom the weaver, and is not really dead. Then Snout (who is to play the lion) asks, "Will not the ladies be afeard of the lion?" Bottom's solution is to write another prologue, explaining that the lion is really Snug the joiner, and to have Snug's face "seen through the lion's neck." Quince brings up another problem: how to portray the light of the moon in the palace. Bottom thinks they should just open a window and let the moon shine in, but Quince comes up with a symbolic solution: "one must come in with a bush of thorns and a lanthorn, and say he comes to disfigure, or to present, the person of Moonshine." Then Quince brings up still another problem; they need a wall, "for Pyramus and Thisby says the story, did talk through the chink of a wall." This time it is Bottom who offers the symbolic solution: "Some man or other must present Wall: and let him have some plaster, or some loam, or some rough-cast about him, to signify wall." Having solved these problems, they begin the rehearsal, using the bushes as the off-stage area.
     3.1.76 —  Enter ROBIN [PUCK, behind]. — Puck enters, and asks himself, "What hempen home-spuns have we swaggering here, / So near the cradle of the fairy queen?" He spends a few moments observing the rehearsal, in which the actors use the wrong words, miss their cues, and speak all their lines at once. Then Puck leaves, promising that he will be an "actor too." Soon Bottom, playing Pyramus, leaves the "stage" by going into some bushes, "to see a noise that he heard."
Puck gives Bottom
an ass head
     3.1.103 —  [Enter PUCK, and BOTTOM with an ass's head.] — Bottom, having heard his cue, comes on "stage," braying out next his line, though he is totally unaware that he now has an ass head. His friends are spooked by his transformation and run away. Puck thinks this is good fun, and runs after them, promising to "lead you about a round, / Through bog, through bush, through brake, through brier," by assuming various shapes. He says, "Sometime a horse I'll be, sometime a hound, / A hog, a headless bear, sometime a fire."
     Bottom comes to the conclusion that his friends are playing a practical joke on him, that "this is to make an ass of me; to fright me, if they could," so he sings a song to prove that he is not afraid.
Enter Peaseblossom, Cobweb,
Moth, and Mustardseed

Arthur Rackham
     His singing awakes the Fairy Queen, who instantly falls in love with him. She praises his singing and his wisdom, but when he says that "if I had wit enough to get out of this wood, I have enough to serve mine own turn," she replies, "Out of this wood do not desire to go: / Thou shalt remain here, whether thou wilt or no." Then she promises that her fairies will attend him, and summons four of them (Peaseblossom, Cobweb, Moth, and Mustardseed), and commands them to feed Bottom delicious fairy food and "do him courtesies." Bottom tries to be courteous, too; he asks the name of each of them, and makes country-bumpkin small talk with them. After these introductions, the Fairy Queen commands her fairies to lead Bottom to her bower. She leads the way, saying, "Tie up my love's tongue, bring him silently."

Act 3, Scene 2:
     3.2.1 — Enter King of Fairies [OBERON]. — Oberon is wondering if Titania has awakened and experienced the effect of the love-juice, when in comes Puck and gives a report of his exploits. It's a long and comic story, concluding with, "so it came to pass, / Titania waked and straightway loved an ass." Oberon expresses his delight with the outcome of his plan, then asks, "hast thou yet latch'd the Athenian's eyes / With the love-juice, as I did bid thee do?" Puck assures him that has been done, too, but what they see next proves that a bad mistake has been made.
     3.2.41 —  Enter DEMETRIUS and HERMIA. — Seeing Demetrius and Hermia, Oberon comments, "this is the same Athenian"; Puck answers, "This is the woman, but not this the man." Puck was supposed to juice Demetrius' eyes so that when he awoke he would see Helena and be in love with her. But Puck got the wrong couple. Lysander's eyes were juiced, Helena happened by, and now Lysander is off in the woods pursuing her.
     Meanwhile, Demetrius, having finally found Hermia, complains that she is treating him cruelly, even though he loves her, and Hermia accuses Demetrius of murdering Lysander. With a torrent of bitter words, Hermia extracts from Demetrius the information that he didn't murder Lysander and doesn't know anything about whether he's dead or alive. With that, Hermia rushes off into the forest again, throwing angry words at Demetrius: "See me no more, whether he be dead or no."
     3.2.83 —  Exit [HERMIA]. — As Hermia runs off, Demetrius says, "There is no following her in this fierce vein," and decides to lie down and sleep. Meanwhile Oberon commands Puck to find Helena and "By some illusion . . . bring her here." Puck goes off and Oberon squeezes the love-juice into Demetrius' eyes, so that when he awakes and sees Helena, she will "shine as gloriously / As the Venus of the sky." Immediately after, Puck enters with the news that Helena is about to arrive, pursued by the love-sick Lysander. Oberon predicts that the noise made by Helena and Lysander will awake Demetrius, and—Puck exclaims—"Then will two at once woo one." It will be great fun to watch, Puck continues, because "those things do best please me / That befall preposterously."
     3.2.123 —  Enter LYSANDER and HELENA. — The last time we saw Helena, she had come to the conclusion that Lysander was pretending to be in love with her in order to mock her. Now, Lysander asks her, "Why should you think that I should woo in scorn?" He says he's weeping, proving his love is sincere, but Helena is unconvinced. She says he can't possibly be telling the truth, because the vows of love to her contradict the vows of love he gave to Hermia.
     As this quarrel reaches its height, Demetrius awakes, sees Helena, and exclaims, "O Helena, goddess, nymph, perfect, divine!" The magic has worked, but Helena believes that "You both are rivals, / And now both rivals, to mock Helena." Lysander and Demetrius each tell the other that he knows the other one really loves Hermia, and each tells the other that he can have Hermia, and each vows love to Helena.
Mac Blais as Lysander, Katie Mitchell as Helena,
Alex Roberts as Puck, and Sterling Shaw as Demetrius.
     3.2.178 —  Enter HERMIA. — Just as Lysander and Demetrius are proclaiming that they are all done with Hermia, in she comes, following the sound of Lysander's voice in the night, and she asks him, "why unkindly didst thou leave me so?" Lysander answers that his love for Helena called him away. Hermia cannot believe it, and Helena comes to the conclusion that Hermia is part of the conspiracy to make fun of her. She bitterly reproaches Hermia, saying that in the past they were best friends, and asks why Hermia would now "join with men in scorning your poor friend?" Hermia is totally confused, but Helena is sure that all three are mocking her, and she declares that she will leave, solving the problem by her "death or absence."
     3.2.246 —  Lysander begs Helena to stay, and he and Demetrius get into an argument over who loves Helena the most, which leads Lysander to challenge Demetrius to a duel. In fear for Lysander's life, Hermia clings to him and Demetrius taunts him with being "a tame man." Trying to shake free of Hermia, Lysander calls her all kind of names and tells her that he hates her and loves Helena.
     3.2.283 —  When it finally sinks into Hermia's head that Lysander now loves Helena, Hermia turns on Helena, calling her "thief of love." Helena strikes back, calling Hermia "you counterfeit, you puppet, you," in other words, a phony little doll. Helena appeals to the men to defend her, because she has "no gift at all in shrewishness," unlike Hermia, who though she is small, is very fierce. However, instead of defending Helena, Lysander and Demetrius march off into the bushes to fight it out over which one of them has the right to defend Helena. Helena runs away from Hermia, and Hermia, "amazed," also disappears into the forest.
     3.2.346 —  Exit [Hermia]. —Having observed these farcical quarrels, Oberon accuses Puck of negligence, or even deliberately messing everything up. Puck swears it was all an honest mistake, but not one he's exactly sorry he made, since "this their jangling I esteem a sport." Oberon then sends Puck off to do what needs to be done to make everything right. Puck will mislead Lysander and Demetrius through the forest, challenging each one to fight in the other one's voice, until they are exhausted and fall asleep. Puck will then apply the love-juice remedy to Lysander's eyes, so that he will again love Hermia. Then, when the lovers awake, their quarrels "Shall seem a dream and fruitless vision," and they will all live happily ever after. Meanwhile, Oberon will go to Titania, once again beg the Indian boy of her, and when he has his way, "then I will her charmed eye release / From monster's view, and all things shall be peace."
William Powell as Lysander
Mickey Rooney as Puck
Puck promises to accomplish everything, and urges Oberon to hurry, since it is almost dawn, when "ghosts, wandering here and there, / Troop home to churchyards." Oberon replies that "we are spirits of another sort," who can live in the light of dawn, but he agrees that they should "effect this business yet ere day."
     3.2.397 —  [Exit Oberon]. —Puck carries out Oberon's orders, leading Lysander and Demetrius astray until they both lie down and fall asleep. Then in comes Helena, who also lies down and falls asleep. The last one in is Hermia. When all are sleep, Puck performs the magic on Lysander that will restore his love of Hermia; then Puck leaves, singing a puckish little tune that ends with "all shall be well."

Act 4, Scene 1:
Detail from
Titania and Bottom
John Anster Fitzgerald
     4.1.1 —  Enter Queen of Fairies [TITANIA] and Clown [BOTTOM], and Fairies [PEASEBLOSSOM, COBWEB, MOTH, MUSTARDSEED, and other Fairies attending]; and the King [OBERON] behind them [unseen]. —As Oberon watches, Titania fawns over Bottom, stroking his hairy cheeks, adorning his head with wild roses, and kissing his "fair large ears." Bottom enjoys the attention, and in a lordly way sends a fairy for honey and enjoins two others to give him a good scratch. When Titania asks if he would like to hear some music, he asks for rustic music, "the tongs and the bones," and when Titania offers him delicacies, he shows that he has asinine tastes and says he would prefer "a handful or two of dried peas." Then he declares that he's ready to sleep, so Titania sends the other fairies away, wraps him in her arms and lulls him asleep, declaring "O, how I love thee! how I dote on thee!" And she sleeps, too.
     4.1.46 —  Enter ROBIN GOODFELLOW [PUCK]. —Oberon tells Puck what has happened: he has taunted Titania about her new love and once again asked for the Indian boy, which she immediately gave to him. Oberon then tells Puck the rest of his plan: he will take the charm from her eyes and awaken her. Puck's part is to remove the ass's head from Bottom and cast a charm on him so that he, when he awakes, he will (like Lysander, Demetrius, Hermia, and Helena) think that all the fairy magic was only a dream.
     Oberon's plan is swiftly put into effect. Oberon removes the charm from Titania's eyes and shows her the monster with whom she had been love. She exclaims, "O, how mine eyes do loathe his visage now!" Puck removes Bottom's ass's head, and all the fairies dance away, leaving Bottom asleep in the vicinity of the other sleepers: Lysander, Hermia, Helena, and Demetrius.
     4.1.104 —  Enter THESEUS, [HIPPOLYTA, EGEUS,] and all his train. —It is now dawn, and Theseus and Hippolyta are beginning a hunting trip and talking of the music dogs make as they pursue the prey.
Calista Flockhart as Helena
Christian Bale as Demetrius
Dominic West as Lysander
Anna Friel as Hermia
Theseus spots the four lovers sleeping on the ground, and Egeus identifies them as his daughter Hermia, Lysander, Demetrius, and Helena. Theseus asks Egeus "is not this the day / That Hermia should give answer of her choice?" and so we know it is the wedding-day of Theseus and Hippolyta. Theseus has his huntsmen awake the four sleepers with the hunting horns, then asks them how they all came to be sleeping together in apparent friendship.
     Lysander replies to Theseus, "My lord, I shall reply amazedly, / Half sleep, half waking," and then tells what he does remember clearly, but when he says that he and Hermia fled into the woods to escape Athenian law, Egeus interrupts and demands the law upon Lysander's head. Egeus expects Demetrius to side with him, but he doesn't. He tells how Helena told him of the flight of Lysander and Hermia, and says that he followed them "in fury," but then his memory gets hazy. He says, "But, my good lord, I wot not by what power,— / But by some power it is,—my love to Hermia, / Melted as the snow," but he is now sure that he is in love with Helena and will be forever. Hearing this, Theseus tells Egeus "I will overbear your will," and announces that the lovers will be married that night in the same temple where he and Hippolyta are to wed. With that, he leaves, followed by all except the lovers.
     The lovers exchange a few words about how everything seems as if "we dream," but they do understand that they are supposed to follow Theseus to the temple where the weddings will take place. And so they go.
     4.1.200 —  [Exeunt.] (THESEUS, HIPPOLYTA, EGEUS, and all his train.) —Bottom awakes thinking about his cue and his next line, but then discovers that all of his friends have left him alone. That doesn't seem to bother him because he has had a wonderful dream, one that no one can explain, but which he will turn into a ballad which he will sing at the end of the play. Maybe he will sing right after the death of Thisby. And so off he goes, as satisfied with himself as ever.

Act 4, Scene 2:
     4.2.1 —  Enter QUINCE, Thisby [FLUTE], and the rabble [SNOUT, STARVELING]. —Bottom's friends are all extremely upset that he has not returned, because he is the only one in all of Athens who can play Pyramus. He is so handsome! He has such a sweet voice! Then Snug comes in and increases their woe; he announces that not only has the duke been married, but also "two or three lords and ladies more." If they had been able to perform their play, they would have all been "made men." And Bottom would surely have been granted a pension of sixpence a day for life!
     Just as all of this bewailing is going on, in comes Bottom himself! He has a tale to tell, but won't tell it, and everyone must get everything ready to go to the duke's. Above all, they are to eat no onions or garlic, because if they have sweet breaths, Bottom says, "I do not doubt but to hear them say, it is a sweet comedy." And away they all go.

Act 5, Scene 1:
     5.1.1 —  Enter THESEUS, HIPPOLYTA, and PHILOSTRATE, [Lords and Attendants]. —As they enter, Theseus and Hippolyta are discussing the stories that they have heard from the lovers. (Apparently Lysander, Demetrius, Hermia, and Helena have tried to describe their dream-like adventures in the forest.) Hippolyta seems to think that their stories, though strange, are so consistent that they sound like more than delusions. Theseus, however, is sure that the stories are "more strange than true"; his reasoning is that lunatics, lovers, and poets are all alike: for them, their imaginations become more real than reality.
     5.1.29 —  Enter lovers, LYSANDER, DEMETRIUS, HERMIA, and HELENA. —Theseus greets the happy lovers and asks Philostrate what entertainments are available "to wear away this long age of three hours / Between our after-supper and bed-time." Philostrate reads from a list, but Theseus rejects everything until Philostrate reads "'A tedious brief scene of young Pyramus / And his love Thisby; very tragical mirth.'" The contradictions catch Theseus' attention, and Philostrate explains that though the play is brief, it is also tedious, because "There is not one word apt, one player fitted." Furthermore, it is "tragical," because Pyramus kills himself, but the tears that Philostrate shed when he saw it rehearsed were merry tears of loud laughter.
     Despite the objections of Philostrate and Hippolyta, Theseus decides to hear the play of Pyramus and Thisby. His reason "never anything can be amiss, / When simpleness and duty tender it"; even though Bottom and his crew will be totally inept, they will be sincerely trying to please, and that is enough.
Brandon Pelar as Flute/Thisby
Austin Morrison as Wall
Shane Chase as Bottom/Pyramus

     5.1.108 —  Enter [QUINCE for] the Prologue. —Quince stumbles through his prologue in such a way that everything comes out wrong; he means to say that they are only trying to please, but says things such as "All for your delight / We are not here."
     As Theseus and the rest of the audience joke about Quince's mistakes, in come the rest of cast, in costume. Quince proceeds to introduce them all and tell the whole plot of the play, which is indeed "tragical," and much like the end of Romeo and Juliet: Pyramus and Thisby are lovers separated by a wall; they agree to meet at Ninus' tomb, but a lion scares away Thisby and stains her mantle with his bloody mouth; Pyramus finds the bloody mantle, thinks Thisby is dead, and kills himself; Thisby returns and kills herself because Pyramus has killed himself. All of this is performed in a ridiculous manner; Wall, Lion, and Moonshine all explain themselves to the audience, and Pyramus and Thisby kill themselves in jiggling rhymes. Meanwhile, the audience enjoys every minute, and enjoys making jokes about how bad the play and the actors are.
     After it is all over, Bottom offers the audience either an epilogue or a "Bergomask dance." Theseus opts for the dance and says to the rest of the audience, "The iron tongue of midnight hath told twelve: / Lovers, to bed; 'tis almost fairy time." So as the dance is going on, everyone steals away. (Although there are no stage directions to say so, it seems that the dancers must exit after everyone else.)
     5.1.371 —  Enter PUCK. —Puck tells us that it is now that time of night when wolves howl, ghosts wander, and fairies frolic. Then he ushers in Oberon, Titania, and their fairy followers, who, in song and dance, bless the house and all its newly-married couples, and all of their children to be. After all the fairies except Puck have danced out, Puck delivers a epilogue to us. He says that "If we shadows have offended," the cure is to think of the whole play as a dream, and give pardon. Then he bids us good night, and says "Give me your hands," so we applaud as he leaves.
Cervilio Miguel Amador as Puck