A Midsummer Night’s Dream – Act 3, Scene 2, Lines 120-345 Essay
A director, what is the role of a director? Most people would probably say someone who works in theatre, television or film and tells the actors what to do. I have been asked to give my thoughts on directing a scene from ‘A Midsummer Nights Dream’.
The scene I have chosen is Act Three, Scene Two, lines 120-345. (Sometimes referred to as the lovers quarrel) Turning to my previous thoughts I decided that a director needs to get inside the minds of the characters, feel their emotions yet remain focused on the fact that the play is still a piece of drama, it is there to entertain and enlighten the audience.Without an audience to perform to a play is futile. A Midsummer Nights Dream is a romantic comedy that tells the story of four young lovers trying to evade reality and the fate that beckons them by going into a magical wood.
This is a rough outline of the play. Theseus tells Hermia she must do as her father says and marry Demetrius. Helena tells Demetrius that Hermia intends to elope with Lysander. The tradesmen agree to rehearse their play in the wood next night.
Oberon and Titania quarrel. Oberon sees Demetrius spurn Helena and sends Puck to treat him with magic herbs. Oberon also treats Titania with the herbs.Puck accidentally treats Lysander, Lysander wakes and falls in love with Helena.
Puck gives Bottom an ass’s head. Titania wakes up and so falls in love with him. Oberon sees that the wrong lovers have been treated wrongly and sends Puck to treat Demetrius. Helena and Hermia start to quarrel.
Demetrius and Lysander decide to duel over Helena. Oberon makes peace between the lovers; he releases Titania from his spell. Bottom gets back his old head. Theseus says the lovers can marry each other.
Pyramus and Thisby is performed at the wedding. The newlyweds go to bed. The fairies bless their marriage.In Act Three Scene 2 Puck tells Oberon that he has carried out his request, although it soon becomes apparent that he has treated the wrong couple.
When Demetrius lies down to sleep, Puck has a further chance to get things right. Helena soon arrives and is being pestered by Lysander who is declaring his love for her, she now finds Demetrius too is declaring his love for her as well. Hermia returns and is heartbroken to find that Lysander does not love her. She accuses Helena of stealing Lysander’s love.
Helena concludes that her former friends have all planned this together to mock her.The men decide to fight a duel over Helena and go off. My direction begins at line 120. Lysander is telling Helena that he really does love her.
As Lysander chases Helena, I would tell her to try to run away from him. He says, ” Scorn and derision never come in tears. ” For this reason Lysander would be crying and begging Helena to love him. Maybe he should fall to his knees and attach himself to her ankles as she tries to escape from his clutches.
Helena then tells Lysander that he should be saying these things to Hermia not her, she should be quite confused and frustrated, gritting her teeth as she talks to Lysander.Lysander then tells Helena that he had no judgment when he was in love with Hermia. As he says this he should slowly get up from his knees and stare longingly into Helena’s eyes. Then as Helena next speaks she should start to get really frustrated and push his head away from hers.
When Lysander then tells Helena that Demetrius does not love her she should sit down on a tree stump with her head in her hands almost about to cry. Lysander should then stand fairly close and stare at her. At this point in the scene Demetrius now wakes up, he would have been lying slightly to the left.As Demetrius wakes up he would slowly rub his eyes and turn his head until he saw Helena and suddenly he will jump high into the air and come rushing over to her, his heart beating fast (shown by heavy breathing).
When he speaks to her he will just keep staring and looking at her. As he says, “Thy lips, those kissing cherries, tempting grow”, he will lean in to kiss her but she suddenly dashes out of the way. Demetrius will then chase her and as he says the last line of his speech, line 144, will kiss her. Helena then pushes him out of the way and runs off shouting her next two lines.
She will also keep scrubbing at her lips with her hands. She then continues with her next speech using a lot of hand movement and shouting at Lysander and Demetrius. As she says, ” To conjure tears up in a poor maid’s eye” Helena will burst into tears. Both men rush to comfort her but she shakes them off.
Lysander then begins to tell Demetrius that he should leave Helena alone and that Demetrius really loves Hermia. As he does this, he should get really close to him and almost shout in hi face. Helena thinks it is all a waste of time as she says in line 168. She should say it almost pleadingly, begging them to stop arguing.
Demetrius next speaks about his heart, as he does this he should putting his hands to heart and when he talks about Helena have a look of longing on his face. Lysander tells Helena that what Demetrius has said is not true; he should push past Demetrius and run to Helena. When Demetrius speaks in lines 175-177 he should then rush past Lysander to Helena. Hermia now enters; Lysander and Demetrius should remain with their eyes fixated on Helena, whilst Hermia comes on.
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 replies to her question (line 193) he should say it sarcastically without looking at Hermia. When Hermia asks him again, why did you leave? She should again try and make physical contact again only to be pushed away again with another demeaning answer from Lysander who again makes another move on Helena. Hermia is astonished at his reply and does not believe what he says in line 191.
Believing that Hermia has joined with the others to make a fool of her, (line 192), Helena recalls the long friendship that once joined her to Hermia.During this soliloquy, which is fairly long, when Helena talks about their childhood together, a single spotlight could be focused on her with a video being played of them as young friends, to increase audience enjoyment. At the end of Helena long speech, Hermia seems to have thought about her friendship with Helena and she is amazed at her “passionate words”. At this point a reassuring touch by Hemia to Helena would be appropriate, but Helena shrugs it off.
She questions Hermias motives again and is extremely confused and bewildered. Hermia then once again says she has nothing to do with this and should shrug her shoulders at this point.Helena becomes then extremely angry and shouts at the three friends, she is frustrated because she thinks she is being mocked. Lysander offers his sympathy to her at line 245 and falls to the ground at her feet as if to worship her.
Helena, annoyed by this outburst screams, ” O excellent! ” Hermia cannot understand the whole situation but tries to tear away Lysander from Helena, only just straining, “Sweet, do not scorn her so. ” In the next few lines Demetrius and Lysander both say that they love Helena more than the other and that they will die for her.When both men say this, they should try to be manlier although still looking lovingly at Helena. Lysander challenges to Demetrius to a duel, to which Demetrius accepts.
Both men should come close together and look fiercely at one another as they say this. Hermia is alarmed at the thought of Lysander being killed and immediately tries to ease the peace by saying that fighting will get them nowhere. . She flings herself onto Lysander trying to stop him.
She once again takes a mouthful of abuse from Lysander as he tries to shake her off her away shouting, “Away you ethiop! Demetrius is extremely sarcastic in lines 257-259 at Lysanders attempts to remove Hermia from himself. Lysander manages to shake off Hermias embrace nastily calling her a serpent, which is very unkind as she was attacked in a recent dream by a snake.Hermia still does not understand why Lysander is being like this to her. Once again, she questions Lysander; she should plead with him to let her know.
He insults Hermia again calling her a tawny tartar. Lysander should say this almost spitting in her face, as he has become frustrated by her questions. Hermia thinks that he is joking and should say this in a puzzled way (line 266).Helena still thinks that they are mocking her in line 267 and should say this very determinedly, as though she has finally figured out what is going on.
Lysander still wants to duel with Demetrius and reminds him seriously that they both need to keep their word. Demetrius jokingly should say that he does not trust Lysanders word. Lysander says very honorably that he would not Hermia even though he hates her. In lines 271 Hermia says that he can do no greater harm than hate.
As Hermia says this, tears should come to her eyes, when she speaks her last line she should turn to Lysander and ask him very sincerely her question.When Lysander answers starting at line 277, he should once again look at Helena as if she was the most beautiful person on earth. As he says to Hermia, “That I do hate thee and love Helena. ” Hermia then will turn to Helena and scream her next few lines at Helena.
When she says her last line, she should rush towards Helena and start pulling at her hair. From lines 286 to 317, Helena and Hermia should be extremely dramatic in their brawl together. At points, the actors should fly at each other and shout at each other as the scene comes to a thrilling climax. At line 217 Hermia tells Helena to leave, and what is keeping her here.
Hermia should come really close to Helena face at this point and almost spit at her, she should look at her like a piece of dirt. When Helena replies to Hermia question she should say it sarcastically to Hermia so she becomes agitated. Lysander soon tells Helena not to worry and that he will protect her from Hermia, Demetrius also does the same. Hermia should be a lone figure on one side of the stage with Lysander and Demetrius shielding Helena.
Helena then contradicts what she said earlier about Hermia in her youth to try to get sympathy. As she tells the men this, she should say it snidely and as though she was a victim of Hermias torment.Hermia should then become infuriated by these lies and try to break through Demetrius and Lysander, as she yells at Helena. Demetrius and Lysanders comments push her back.
When the men decide to go off and fight, they should be very gentlemanly and extremely polite to each other. When both the men leave the stage Hermia should slowly move across the stage to Helena and whisper evilly her next lines. Helena should then turn away from Hermia whisper her lines snidely then storm off the stage. Because this scene is set in a wood I would have a very magical but dark, gloomy setting.
There would be several tree stumps to sit on.The floor would be covered in moss and leaves. The backdrop would be a big oak tree with a big leafy canopy. The lighting would be very eerie with mostly different shades of green; everything would be mostly down lit to create amazing shadows on the lover’s faces.
When a character is alone on stage they will be spotlighted in a yellowy green. All the characters would be wearing their normal medieval clothes but they would be mainly yellows and golds used to highlight the fact that they are normal human beings in a weird and gloomy forest. The clothes would be quite dirty though to show they had slept in the forest.I would not use any music in this scene because I think the language is extremely important and there is no need for music if the characters express their emotions wonderfully.
This scene is one of the plays bleakest moments. The dream has changed to a nightmare; it is a Midsummer’s Nightmare. This scene seems to come together to leave a desperate, irredeemable mess. Nevertheless, all is well when Oberon realizes what has happened and sets out to solve the problem.
At the beginning of the play, Hermia seems to have things pretty much her own way; she is loved by Lysander, who she loves also, and Demetrius, Helena’s love.It can be hard to remember that at the beginning of the play she is under the threat of death or confinement in a convent. Hermia progresses throughout the play from a young girl under rule from her father, to a grown woman, who chooses who she wants to marry. Lysander and Demetrius are completely under Pucks spell, as in Act 3, Scene 2.
Helena and Hermia are two completely different individuals; when Lysander and Demetrius talk about them, you could almost interchange the women in and out. Whilst the language they use is terribly flattering, it does not relate to the real woman.It is ironic that Helena seems to realize the Midsummer Nights Dream by having her dream come true, yet when we meet her she has nothing, only unrequited love. However, when two men love her she hates it.
Demetrius develops during the course of the play. At the start, he has a massive ego. He claims to love Hermia and shows complete blindness to any feelings she might have. The spell made by Puck frees him from his selfishness, he appreciates the love that Helena offers him, and so discovers new depths in his inner self.