A Midsummer Night’s Dream Scene

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The role of a director is commonly associated with working in theatre, television, or film and involves instructing actors. I have been requested to share my insights on directing a scene from ‘A Midsummer Nights Dream’.

The selected scene, Act Three, Scene Two, lines 120-345, also known as the lovers quarrel, requires a director to understand the characters’ inner thoughts and emotions. It is important to remember that despite delving into these depths, the play remains a work of drama with the purpose of entertaining and enlightening the audience. Without an audience to perform for, the play would lose its meaning. A Midsummer Night’s Dream is a romantic comedy centered around four young lovers who seek refuge from reality and their impending fate by entering a magical forest.

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This is a simple overview of the play. Theseus tells Hermia to follow her father’s orders and marry Demetrius. At the same time, Helena informs Demetrius about Hermia’s intention to elope with Lysander. Additionally, the tradesmen agree to rehearse their play in the forest on the upcoming night.

Oberon and Titania argue amongst themselves. Oberon witnesses Demetrius rejecting Helena and instructs Puck to administer magic herbs to him. Oberon also gives Titania the same treatment with the herbs. Unfortunately, Puck mistakenly treats Lysander instead, causing him to awaken and immediately fall in love with Helena.

Puck places an ass’s head on Bottom, causing Titania to awaken and fall in love with him. Recognizing the error, Oberon instructs Puck to remedy the situation by treating Demetrius. As a result, Helena and Hermia begin to argue.

Demetrius and Lysander duel for Helena, but Oberon intervenes and reconciles the lovers. Oberon ends his enchantment on Titania, and Bottom regains his original head. Theseus permits the lovers to marry each other.

Pyramus and Thisby is performed at the wedding, and the newlyweds go to bed while the fairies bless their marriage. In Act Three Scene 2, Puck informs Oberon that he has fulfilled his task, but it becomes clear that he has mistaken the intended couple.

When Demetrius goes to sleep, Puck seizes another opportunity to make things right. Helena comes and is being bothered by Lysander, who is confessing his love for her. She then discovers that Demetrius is also declaring his love for her. Hermia returns and is devastated to learn that Lysander no longer loves her. She accuses Helena of stealing Lysander’s affection.

Helena suspects that her ex-friends conspired to humiliate her, leading the men to duel for her in line 120. Lysander expresses his genuine love for Helena.

As Lysander pursues Helena, I would advise her to attempt to flee from him. In his own words, he states, “Scorn and derision never come in tears.” Due to this, Lysander would be weeping and pleading with Helena to love him. Perhaps he should drop down to his knees and grab onto her ankles while she tries to evade his grasp.

Helena expresses to Lysander that he should be expressing these sentiments to Hermia instead of her. She is left feeling perplexed and irritated, clenching her teeth as she addresses Lysander. In response, Lysander informs Helena that he lacked rationality when he was infatuated with Hermia. While saying this, he should rise slowly from his kneeling position and gaze affectionately into Helena’s eyes. Subsequently, as Helena continues speaking, her frustration intensifies and she physically pushes Lysander’s head away from hers.

When Helena is informed by Lysander that Demetrius does not feel the same way about her, she should take a seat on a tree stump. Her head should be bowed and her hands covering her face, showing her distress. Lysander should position himself nearby and look at Helena intensely. At the same time, Demetrius, who was previously sleeping slightly to the left, wakes up. As he starts to wake up, he slowly rubs his eyes and turns his head until he sees Helena. Suddenly, filled with excitement, he jumps into the air and hurriedly approaches her with his heart racing (as indicated by heavy breathing).

During their conversation, he will keep his eyes fixed on her and maintain a steady gaze. As he says the words, “Thy lips, those tempting cherries that invite kisses,” he will lean in for a kiss. However, she swiftly avoids his advance. Afterward, Demetrius continues to pursue her and at line 144 of his speech, he finally succeeds in kissing her. Nevertheless, Helena forcefully pushes him away and quickly retreats while shouting her next two lines.

She will continue to scrub at her lips with her hands while delivering her next speech animatedly, shouting at Lysander and Demetrius. In the midst of saying, “To conjure tears up in a poor maid’s eye,” Helena will suddenly burst into tears. Despite the men’s attempts to console her, she rejects their comfort.

Lysander advises Demetrius to leave Helena and confesses that Demetrius truly loves Hermia. While doing so, Lysander suggests getting close to Demetrius and almost shouting in his face. Helena dismisses their argument, deeming it a futile effort as stated in line 168. She pleads with them to cease their dispute.

Demetrius then discusses his heart, accompanying his words by placing his hands on his chest and expressing longing when mentioning Helena. Lysander informs Helena that Demetrius’ words are false; he should bypass Demetrius and rush towards Helena. After speaking lines 175-177, Demetrius should dash past Lysander towards Helena. At this moment, Hermia arrives, and both Lysander and Demetrius should keep their gaze fixed on Helena as Hermia enters the scene.

She asks Lysander where he went; Lysander should just give her an evil look as Hermia tries to shake him so he will listen. When Lysander sarcastically replies to her question (line 193) without looking at Hermia, she asks him again why he left. She again tries to make physical contact only to be pushed away with another demeaning answer from Lysander, who then makes another move on Helena. Hermia is astonished at his reply and does not believe what he says in line 191.

During her soliloquy, Helena reflects on her belief that Hermia has conspired with others to mock her. She fondly recalls their past friendship and suggests using a spotlight and video projection to enhance the audience’s experience while she talks about their childhood together. In the conclusion of her speech, Hermia appears to have contemplated their friendship and is astonished by Helena’s impassioned words. Although a comforting touch from Hermia would be fitting, Helena dismisses it.

She questions Hermia’s motives again and is very confused and bewildered. Hermia then reiterates that she has no involvement in this and suggests shrugging her shoulders at this point. Helena becomes extremely angry and shouts at the three friends, feeling frustrated and believing she is being mocked. Lysander expresses sympathy towards her at line 245 and prostrates himself before her as if to worship.

Helena, feeling frustrated by this outburst, exclaims in frustration, “O excellent!” Hermia is confused but tries to intervene between Lysander and Helena. She manages to say weakly, “Sweet, do not treat her with disrespect.” In the subsequent lines, both Demetrius and Lysander express their love for Helena and state that they would be willing to sacrifice their lives for her. Despite their declarations of love, they should strive to maintain a masculine demeanor while still showing affection towards Helena. Lysander challenges Demetrius to a duel and Demetrius accepts the challenge.

Both men should approach each other closely and gaze intensely while uttering these words. Hermia becomes alarmed at the idea of Lysander getting killed and promptly attempts to promote peace by stating that fighting will lead them nowhere. She throws herself onto Lysander in an effort to restrain him.

In lines 257-259, Lysander sarcastically tries to remove Hermia from himself by insulting her, saying “Away you ethiop!” He manages to shake off her embrace and cruelly calls her a serpent, which is unkind considering her recent dream of being attacked by a snake. Hermia is confused about why Lysander is treating her this way and questions him once again, pleading for an explanation.

Lysander insults Hermia once more, referring to her as a tawny tartar. He should say this with intense contempt, almost spitting the words in her face out of frustration from her incessant questioning. Hermia, oblivious to his true feelings, interprets his insult as a joke and responds in a puzzled manner (line 266). Meanwhile, Helena, finally comprehending the situation, firmly declares that they are still taunting her (line 267).

Lysander is determined to duel with Demetrius and sternly reminds him of their commitment. In a playful manner, Demetrius expresses his doubt in Lysander’s trustworthiness. Lysander asserts with great integrity that he would not harm Hermia, even though he despises her. In line 271, Hermia remarks that hate can do no greater damage.

Hermia should shed tears as she speaks her words and when she asks her question, she should turn to Lysander with genuine sincerity. When Lysander responds starting from line 277, he should once again gaze at Helena as if she were the most exquisite being in existence. As he declares to Hermia, “That I do hate thee and love Helena,” Hermia will then turn to Helena and angrily shout her following lines at her.

When Helena says her final line, she should quickly move towards Helena and begin tugging on her hair. Between lines 286 and 317, Helena and Hermia should engage in a highly dramatic fight together. At certain moments, the performers should aggressively approach each other and loudly argue as the scene builds to an exciting climax. In line 217, Hermia instructs Helena to depart and questions why she remains.

Hermia should come very close to Helena, almost spitting at her and treating her like dirt. When Helena responds to Hermia’s question, she should do so sarcastically, further irritating Hermia. Lysander promptly assures Helena that she shouldn’t worry and promises to protect her from Hermia, and Demetrius also offers the same. Hermia should stand alone on one side of the stage while Lysander and Demetrius shield Helena.

Helena attempts to gain sympathy by contradicting her previous statements about Hermia’s behavior during their youth. She delivers these remarks with a snide tone, portraying herself as a victim of Hermia’s torment. In response, Hermia becomes enraged by these false accusations and attempts to confront Demetrius and Lysander, yelling at Helena. However, the comments made by Demetrius and Lysander prevent Hermia from breaking through and reaching them.

When the men make the decision to engage in combat, it is crucial for them to exhibit gentlemanly behavior and demonstrate utmost politeness towards each other. As both men exit the stage, Hermia should gracefully make her way towards Helena, whispering maliciously the next lines. In response, Helena should turn away from Hermia, delivering her lines sarcastically and swiftly exiting the stage. Given the woodland setting of this scene, I would create an atmosphere that is enchanting yet ominously dismal.

The seating would consist of multiple tree stumps, while the ground would be adorned with moss and leaves. Providing a backdrop, a prominent oak tree with a lush leafy canopy takes center stage. To set an eerie atmosphere, the lighting would predominantly feature various shades of green, casting captivating shadows on the faces of the lovers.

When a character is alone on stage, they will be illuminated in a yellowy green hue. All characters will be attired in their regular medieval garments, primarily in yellows and golds to emphasize their humanity amidst the strange and gloomy forest. However, their clothes will appear rather grimy, indicating that they have slept in the forest. In this scene, I would not incorporate any music as I believe that the language is paramount and the characters can adeptly convey their emotions without it.

In this particular scene, the play reaches its darkest point. The once pleasant dream has transformed into a frightening nightmare, specifically a Midsummer’s Nightmare. It appears that everything converges in this scene to create a hopeless and irreparable situation. However, everything eventually turns out fine as Oberon comprehends the situation and takes action to resolve the issue.

Hermia initially appears to have control over her romantic relationships with Lysander and Demetrius at the beginning of the play. However, it is crucial to acknowledge that she also confronts the peril of death or being forced into a convent. As the play progresses, Hermia undergoes a transformation from an obedient daughter controlled by her father to an independent woman who possesses the liberty to select her own spouse. Furthermore, in Act 3, Scene 2, Puck manipulates both Lysander and Demetrius entirely.

Helena and Hermia are separate individuals, but Lysander and Demetrius refer to them interchangeably. Despite their flattering language, it does not accurately represent the true nature of these women. It is ironic that Helena’s dream becomes a reality in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, yet initially she lacks any reciprocated affection and is burdened only with unrequited love. Interestingly, she despises it when two men admire her.

Demetrius undergoes character development throughout the play. Initially, he possesses a strong sense of self-importance, professing his love for Hermia while disregarding her emotions. However, Puck’s spell is able to liberate him from his self-centeredness, allowing him to recognize and value the love offered by Helena. As a result, Demetrius uncovers previously unexplored aspects of his inner being.

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A Midsummer Night’s Dream Scene. (2017, Dec 24). Retrieved from


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