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[[Category: William Shakespeare's works]]
[[Category: William Shakespeare's works]]

Revision as of 11:20, 27 August 2018

This article is about Shakespeare's play. For other uses, see A Midsummer Night's Dream (disambiguation).

In A Midsummer Night's Dream, one of William Shakespeare's plays, Shakespeare stages the workings of love. Theseus and Hippolyta, about to marry, are figures from mythology. In the woods outside Theseus' Athens, two young men and two young women sort themselves out into couples—but not before they form first one love triangle, and then another.

Also in the woods, the king and queen of fairyland, Oberon and Titania, battle over custody of an orphan boy; Oberon uses magic to make Titania fall in love with a weaver named Bottom, whose head is temporarily transformed into a donkey by a hobgoblin or "puck," Robin Goodfellow. Finally, Bottom and his companions ineptly stage the tragedy of "Pyramus and Thisbe."

Shakespeare probably wrote A Midsummer Night's Dream in the mid-1590s. The play was published as a quarto in 1600. The main plot has no obvious sources, but sources for Pyramus and Thisbe include Ovid's Metamorphoses. Shakespeare may also have drawn on Chaucer's Canterbury Tales and Sir Thomas North's English translation of Plutarch's Lives.[1]

Productions at the Folger

Helen Hayes Awards
Wins: "Outstanding Supporting Actress, Resident Play" for Kate Eastwood Norris
Nominations: "Outstanding Costume Design, Resident Production" for Kate Turner-Walker, "Outstanding Supporting Actor, Resident Play" for Ralph Cosham, and "Outstanding Supporting Actress, Resident Play" for Stephanie Burden

Early editions

First Folio

LUNA: First Folio: N1r - O3v
Hamnet: STC 22273 Fo. 1 no. 68

Second Folio

LUNA: Second Folio: N1r - O3v
Hamnet: STC 22274 Fo. 2 no. 07

First Quarto

LUNA: First Quarto
Hamnet: STC 22302

Second Quarto

LUNA: Second Quarto
Hamnet: STC 22303 Copy 1

Modern editions

Midsummer Night's Dream Folger Edition.jpg

A Midsummer Night's Dream can be read online with Folger Digital Texts and purchased from Simon and Schuster. The play can also be purchased in Three Comedies, a collection that also includes The Taming of the Shrew and Twelfth Night.

Hamnet link to Folger Edition: PR2753 .M6 2004 copy 2 v.25

In popular culture


Watch the trailer for this 2001 teen comedy adaptation, starring Kirsten Dunst, Ben Foster, Sisqo, and featuring Martin Short.


The Folger owns over 60 stand-alone translations of A Midsummer Night's Dream in various languages (not including collected works). Cataloging of these works is ongoing as of early 2015, and many have full-level catalog records, but some works still have only partial records. Translations can be found Hamnet in by searching for "Translations"in the Genre/Form Term field, or by searching the Call Number (Left-Anchored) field for call numbers starting with PR2796 (see the list of Sh.Col. translations call numbers for specific language call numbers). Since not all translations are fully cataloged, some items may only turn up in one of these searches.

Performance materials

Other media


A Midsummer Night's Dream Audio Edition from Simon & Schuster available on CD and as an audio download.

Midsummer audio cd cover.jpg
Puck Louis Butelli
Oberon Cody Nickell
Titania Rachael Holmes
Helena Karen Peakes
Hermia Katie deBuys
Demetrius Tim Getman
Bottom Ian Merrill Peakes
Lysander Andrew Schwartz
Peter Quince Tom Story

Other parts were played by members of the cast.

Directed by Robert Richmond.

Original music composed by Anthony Cochrane.

In partnership with Simon & Schuster Audio.

Listen to Marin Alsop's "Guide to A Midsummer Night's Dream" on NPR's Weekend Edition-Saturday. (May 24, 2014)

Luminary app

The Folger Luminary Shakespeare App can be purchased on iTunes.


  1. Adapted from the Folger Library Shakespeare edition, edited by Barbara A. Mowat and Paul Werstine. © 1993 Folger Shakespeare Library.