A Midsummer Night's Dream
A Midsummer Night's Dream
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Annotation: Shakespeare readers will further be able to understand and appreciate the text of this play with the help of explanatory footnotes on the language and expressions used and a history of Shakespearean theater and writing.
Catalog Number: #196704
Format: Perma-Bound Edition
Teaching Materials: Search
Common Core/STEAM: Common Core Common Core
Teaching Materials
Copyright Date: 1988
Edition Date: 1988
Pages: xxxiii, 103 pages
Availability: Available
ISBN: Publisher: 0-553-21300-8 Perma-Bound: 0-8000-5500-4
ISBN 13: Publisher: 978-0-553-21300-3 Perma-Bound: 978-0-8000-5500-4
Dewey: 822.3
Dimensions: 18 cm.
Subject Heading:
Language: English
ALA Booklist
The proliferation of graphic-novel Shakespeare adaptations continues. Cardy and Nicholson's artwork gives the characters a nicely expressive range; the color palette is bold, luminescent, and mood evoking; and the well-designed panel flow presents an engaging version of the classic comedy. The volume is clearly intended for classroom use, and it is one of three versions: original text (presenting the play in its entirety), plain text (which uses contemporary language), and quick text (a heavily abridged adaptation). The back matter discusses how to convert a play into comics format, offers a short biography of Shakespeare, and touches on the Globe Theatre.
Horn Book
This comic-book-style adaptation capably conveys plot points but fails to capture the original play's thematic depth or humor. Awkwardly placed rectangular text boxes and distracting footnotes crowd the pages and create separation between illustrations and words. Marginally useful historical context is appended to the story. Timeline. Ind.
School Library Journal
Gr 5 Up-Shakespeare's classic play about fairies, humans, and mismatched lovers is adapted into three different versions to accommodate different reading levels. "Original Text" uses Shakespeare's original iambic pentameter. "Plain Text" adapts the language into modern-day English. And "Quick Text" simplifies the language even further, suitable for middle-grade students' reading level. Each version contains a short biography of Shakespeare, a history of the play, information about the Globe Theatre, and an overview of the graphic novel's creation. The colorful and eye-catching illustrations bring this classic play to life for young readers. These different versions will be extremely valuable for educators working with students of different reading and interest levels. Andrea Lipinski, New York Public Library
Reviewing Agencies: - Find Other Reviewed Titles
ALA Booklist
Horn Book
School Library Journal
Bibliography Index/Note: Includes bibliographical references.
Word Count: 3,904
Reading Level: 2.9
Interest Level: 9+
Accelerated Reader: reading level: 2.9 / points: 1.0 / quiz: 122789 / grade: Middle Grades
Reading Counts!: reading level:8.7 / points:16.0 / quiz:Q13328
Lexile: NP

[Dramatis Personae

Theseus, Duke of Athens

Hippolyta, Queen of the Amazons, betrothed to Theseus

Philostrate, Master of the Revels

Egeus, father of Hermia

Hermia, daughter of Egeus, in love with Lysander

Lysander, in love with Hermia

Demetrius, in love with Hermia and favored by Egeus

Helena, in love with Demetrius

Oberon, King of the Fairies

Titania, Queen of the Fairies

puck, or Robin Goodfellow



mote,  fairies attending Titania


Other fairies attending

peter quince, a carpenter, prologue

nick bottom, a weaver, pyramus

Francis flute, a bellows  representing

mender, Thisbe

tom snout, a tinker,  wall

snug, a joiner, lion

robin starveling, a tailor, moonshine

Lords and Attendants on Theseus and Hippolyta

scene: Athens, and a wood near it]

1.1 Location: Athens. Theseus's court.

4 lingers frustrates

5 Stepdame stepmother.  a dowager i.e., a widow (whose right of inheritance from her dead husband is eating into her son's estate)

6 withering out causing to dwindle

7 Four . . . night (The image is of the day sinking into the ocean as night comes on.)

11 solemnities festive ceremonies of marriage.

15 companion fellow. (A pale complexion is linked to melancholy.)  pomp ceremonial magnificence.

16 with my sword i.e., in a military engagement against the Amazons, when Hippolyta was taken captive

19 triumph public festivity

[1.1] A Enter Theseus, Hippolyta, [and Philostrate,] with others.


Now, fair Hippolyta, our nuptial hour

Draws on apace. Four happy days bring in

Another moon; but, oh, methinks, how slow

This old moon wanes! She lingers my desires, 4

Like to a Stepdame or a dowager 5

Long withering out a young man's revenue. 6


Four days will quickly steep themselves in night; 7

Four nights will quickly dream away the time;

And then the moon, like to a silver bow

New bent in heaven, shall behold the night

Of our solemnities.

Theseus Go, Philostrate, 11

Stir up the Athenian youth to merriments.

Awake the pert and nimble spirit of mirth.

Turn melancholy forth to funerals;

The pale companion is not for our pomp. 15

[Exit Philostrate.]

Hippolyta, I wooed thee with my sword 16

And won thy love doing thee injuries;

But I will wed thee in another key,

With pomp, with triumph, and with reveling. 19

Enter Egeus and his daughter Hermia, and Lysander, and Demetrius.


Happy be Theseus, our renowned duke!

31 feigning (1) counterfeiting (2) faining, desirous

32 And . . . fantasy and made her fall in love with you (imprinting your image on her imagination) by stealthy and dishonest means

33 gauds, conceits playthings, fanciful trifles

34 Knacks . . . sweetmeats knickknacks, trinkets, bouquets, candies

35 prevailment in influence on

39 Be it so if

45 Immediately directly, with nothing intervening

51 leave i.e., leave unaltered


Thanks, good Egeus. What's the news with thee?


Full of vexation come I, with complaint

Against my child, my daughter Hermia.--

Stand forth, Demetrius.--My noble lord,

This man hath my consent to marry her.--

Stand forth, Lysander.--And, my gracious Duke,

This man hath bewitched the bosom of my child.--

Thou, thou Lysander, thou hast given her rhymes

And interchanged love tokens with my child.

Thou hast by moonlight at her window sung

With feigning voice verses of feigning love, 31

And stol'n the impression of her fantasy 32

With bracelets of thy hair, rings, gauds, conceits, 33

Knacks, trifles, nosegays, sweetmeats--messengers 34

Of strong prevailment in unhardened youth. 35

With cunning hast thou filched my daughter's heart,

Turned her obedience, which is due to me,

To stubborn harshness. And, my gracious Duke,

Be it so she will not here before Your Grace 39

Consent to marry with Demetrius,

I beg the ancient privilege of Athens:

As she is mine, I may dispose of her,

Which shall be either to this gentleman

Or to her death, according to our law

Immediately provided in that case. 45


What say you, Hermia? Be advised, fair maid.

To you your father should be as a god--

One that composed your beauties, yea, and one

To whom you are but as a form in wax

By him imprinted, and within his power

To leave the figure or disfigure it. 51

Demetrius is a worthy gentleman.

54 kind respect.  wanting lacking.  voice approval

65 die the death be executed by legal process

68 blood passions

70 livery habit, costume

71 aye ever.  mewed shut in. (Said of a hawk, poultry, etc.)

76 earthlier happy happier as respects this world.  distilled i.e., to make perfume

80 patent privilege


So is Lysander.

Theseus In himself he is;

But in this kind, wanting your father's voice, 54

The other must be held the worthier.


I would my father looked but with my eyes.


Rather your eyes must with his judgment look.


I do entreat Your Grace to pardon me.

I know not by what power I am made bold,

Nor how it may concern my modesty

In such a presence here to plead my thoughts;

But I beseech Your Grace that I may know

The worst that may befall me in this case

If I refuse to wed Demetrius.


Either to die the death or to abjure 65

Forever the society of men.

Therefore, fair Hermia, question your desires,

Know of your youth, examine well your blood, 68

Whether, if you yield not to your father's choice,

You can endure the livery of a nun, 70

For aye to be in shady cloister mewed, 71

To live a barren sister all your life,

Chanting faint hymns to the cold fruitless moon.

Thrice blessed they that master so their blood

To undergo such maiden pilgrimage;

But earthlier happy is the rose distilled 76

Than that which, withering on the virgin thorn,

Grows, lives, and dies in single blessedness.


So will I grow, so live, so die, my lord,

Ere I will yield my virgin patent up 80

89 protest vow

92 crazed cracked, unsound

98 estate unto settle or bestow upon

99 as well derived as well born and descended

100 possessed endowed with wealth

101 fairly handsomely

102 vantage superiority

106 head i.e., face

110 spotted i.e., morally stained

Unto His Lordship, whose unwished yoke

My soul consents not to give sovereignty.


Take time to pause, and by the next new moon--

The sealing day betwixt my love and me

For everlasting bond of fellowship--

Upon that day either prepare to die

For disobedience to your father's will,

Or else to wed Demetrius, as he would,

Or on Diana's altar to protest 89

For aye austerity and single life.


Relent, sweet Hermia, and, Lysander, yield

Thy crazed title to my certain right. 92


You have her father's love, Demetrius;

Let me have Hermia's. Do you marry him.


Scornful Lysander! True, he hath my love,

And what is mine my love shall render him.

And she is mine, and all my right of her

I do estate unto Demetrius. 98


I am, my lord, as well derived as he, 99

As well possessed; my love is more than his; 100

My fortunes every way as fairly ranked, 101

If not with vantage, as Demetrius'; 102

And, which is more than all these boasts can be,

I am beloved of beauteous Hermia.

Why should not I then prosecute my right?

Demetrius, I'll avouch it to his head, 106

Made love to Nedar's daughter, Helena,

And won her soul; and she, sweet lady, dotes,

Devoutly dotes, dotes in idolatry

Upon this spotted and inconstant man. 110

113 self-affairs my own concerns

116 schooling admonition

117 look you arm take care you prepare

118 fancies likings, thoughts of love

120 extenuate mitigate, relax

123 go i.e., come

125 Against in preparation for

126 nearly that that closely

130 Belike Very likely

131 Beteem grant, afford

135 blood hereditary rank

136 cross vexation.

137 misgrafted ill grafted, badly matched


I must confess that I have heard so much,

And with Demetrius thought to have spoke thereof;

But, being overfull of self-affairs, 113

My mind did lose it. But, Demetrius, come,

And come, Egeus, you shall go with me;

I have some private schooling for you both. 116

For you, fair Hermia, look you arm yourself 117

To fit your fancies to your father's will, 118

Or else the law of Athens yields you up--

Which by no means we may extenuate-- 120

To death or to a vow of single life.

Come, my Hippolyta. What cheer, my love?

Demetrius and Egeus, go along. 123

I must employ you in some business

Against our nuptial, and confer with you 125

Of something nearly that concerns yourselves. 126


With duty and desire we follow you.

Exeunt [all but Lysander and Hermia].


How now, my love, why is your cheek so pale?

How chance the roses there do fade so fast?


Belike for want of rain, which I could well 130

Beteem them from the tempest of my eyes. 131


Ay me! For aught that I could ever read,

Could ever hear by tale or history,

The course of true love never did run smooth;

But either it was different in blood-- 135


Oh, cross! Too high to be enthralled to low. 136


Or else misgrafted in respect of years-- 137

139 friends relatives

141 sympathy agreement

143 momentany lasting but a moment

145 collied blackened (as with coal dust), darkened

146 in a spleen in a swift impulse, in a violent flash.  unfolds reveals

149 confusion ruin.

150 ever crossed always thwarted

152 teach . . . patience i.e., teach ourselves patience in this trial

155 fancy's amorous passion's

156 persuasion doctrine.

159 seven leagues about 21 miles

160 respects regards

165 without outside


Oh, spite! Too old to be engaged to young.


Or else it stood upon the choice of friends-- 139


Oh, hell, to choose love by another's eyes!


Or if there were a sympathy in choice, 141

War, death, or sickness did lay siege to it,

Making it momentany as a sound, 143

Swift as a shadow, short as any dream,

Brief as the lightning in the collied night 145

That in a spleen unfolds both heaven and earth, 146

And ere a man hath power to say "Behold!"

The jaws of darkness do devour it up.

So quick bright things come to confusion. 149


If then true lovers have been ever crossed, 150

It stands as an edict in destiny.

Then let us teach our trial patience, 152

Because it is a customary cross,

As due to love as thoughts, and dreams, and sighs,

Wishes, and tears, poor fancy's followers. 155


A good persuasion. Therefore, hear me, Hermia: 156

I have a widow aunt, a dowager

Of great revenue, and she hath no child.

From Athens is her house remote seven leagues; 159

And she respects me as her only son. 160

There, gentle Hermia, may I marry thee,

And to that place the sharp Athenian law

Cannot pursue us. If thou lovest me, then,

Steal forth thy father's house tomorrow night;

And in the wood, a league without the town, 165

Where I did meet thee once with Helena

167 To do . . . May to perform the ceremonies of May Day

170 best arrow (Cupid's best gold-pointed arrows were supposed to induce love; his blunt leaden arrows, aversion.)

171 simplicity innocence.  doves i.e., those that drew Venus's chariot

173, 174 Carthage queen, false Trojan (Dido, Queen of Carthage, immolated herself on a funeral pyre after having been deserted by the Trojan hero Aeneas.)

180 fair fair-complexioned. (Generally regarded by the Elizabethans as more beautiful than a dark complexion.)

182 your fair your beauty (even though Hermia is dark complexioned).  happy fair lucky fair one.

183 lodestars guiding stars.  air music

184 tunable tuneful, melodious

186 favor appearance, looks

190 bated excepted

191 translated transformed.

193 sway the motion control the impulses

To do observance to a morn of May, 167

There will I stay for thee.

Hermia My good Lysander!

I swear to thee, by Cupid's strongest bow,

By his best arrow with the golden head, 170

By the simplicity of Venus' doves, 171

By that which knitteth souls and prospers loves,

And by that fire which burned the Carthage queen 173

When the false Trojan under sail was seen, 174

By all the vows that ever men have broke,

In number more than ever women spoke,

In that same place thou hast appointed me

Tomorrow truly will I meet with thee.


Keep promise, love. Look, here comes Helena.

Enter Helena.


God speed, fair Helena! Whither away? 180


Call you me fair? That "fair" again unsay.

Demetrius loves your fair. Oh, happy fair! 182

Your eyes are lodestars, and your tongue's sweet air 183

More tunable than lark to shepherd's ear 184

When wheat is green, when hawthorn buds appear.

Sickness is catching. Oh, were favor so, 186

Yours would I catch, fair Hermia, ere I go;

My ear should catch your voice, my eye your eye,

My tongue should catch your tongue's sweet melody.

Were the world mine, Demetrius being bated, 190

The rest I'd give to be to you translated. 191

Oh, teach me how you look and with what art

You sway the motion of Demetrius' heart. 193


I frown upon him, yet he loves me still.

197 Oh, that . . . move! Would that my prayers could arouse such desire!

204-5 Before . . . to me (Love has led to complications and jealousies, making Athens hell for Hermia.)

209 Phoebe Diana, the moon

210 glass reflecting surface (of a lake, etc.)

211 liquid pearl i.e., dew

212 still always

215 faint pale

216 counsel secret thought


Oh, that your frowns would teach my smiles such



I give him curses, yet he gives me love.


Oh, that my prayers could such affection move! 197


The more I hate, the more he follows me.


The more I love, the more he hateth me.


His folly, Helena, is no fault of mine.


None, but your beauty. Would that fault were mine!


Take comfort. He no more shall see my face.

Lysander and myself will fly this place.

Before the time I did Lysander see 204

Seemed Athens as a paradise to me. 205

Oh, then, what graces in my love do dwell,

That he hath turned a heaven unto a hell?


Helen, to you our minds we will unfold.

Tomorrow night, when Phoebe doth behold 209

Her silver visage in the watery glass, 210

Decking with liquid pearl the bladed grass, 211

A time that lovers' flights doth still conceal, 212

Through Athens' gates have we devised to steal.


And in the wood, where often you and I

Upon faint primrose beds were wont to lie, 215

Emptying our bosoms of their counsel sweet, 216

There my Lysander and myself shall meet,

Excerpted from A Midsummer Night's Dream by William Shakespeare
All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.

Magic, love spells, and an enchanted wood provide the materials for one of Shakespeare’s most delightful comedies. When four young lovers, fleeing the Athenian law and their own mismatched rivalries, take to the forest of Athens, their lives become entangled with a feud between the King and Queen of the Fairies. Some Athenian tradesmen, rehearsing a play for the forthcoming wedding of Duke Theseus and his bride, Hippolyta, unintentionally add to the hilarity. The result is a marvelous mix-up of desire and enchantment, merriment and farce, all touched by Shakespeare’s inimitable vision of the intriguing relationship between art and life, dreams and the waking world.

Each Edition Includes:
• Comprehensive explanatory notes
• Vivid introductions and the most up-to-date scholarship
• Clear, modernized spelling and punctuation, enabling contemporary readers to understand the Elizabethan English
• Completely updated, detailed bibliographies and performance histories
• An interpretive essay on film adaptations of the play, along with an extensive filmography

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