Studying Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream invites students to study some of the most beautiful and lyrical language in any of Shakespeare’s plays. As with any work of Shakespeare’s, it takes some time for students to adjust to the language and truly master the art of reading the Bard.
More poetic than any other of his works, and written in iambic pentameter, this 1595 version of a screwball comedy is a lilting romp through the woods. From Athens, a place of order and rules into the woods ruled by fairies where chaos reigns, students who truly take the time to savor the language will walk away from this short play with a true appreciation of Shakespeare’s wit.
Asking the Right Questions
When I teach this play, I use content questions broken down into acts. However, I do not just require students to answer the questions, since a quick trip to SparkNotes would take care of that for them with no trouble.
Instead, I ask them to find the line or lines of text that define, support or state the direct answer. In this way, I can ensure that they are both reading the play and comprehending the language. It is tedious work for the students, especially during Act I and Act II, but by the third Act, I have always seen my students become more confident in their ability to analyze and interpret Shakespeare’s texts.
Use the following question with your class and have a fun and engaging lesson. The questions are also available as a download.
Act by Act Questions
- At the start of the play, what are Thesues and Hippolyta discussing?
- Why does Egeus go to visit Thesues?
- What will happen to Hermia if she does not marry Demetrius?
- What plan is hatched between Lysander and Hermia?
- What motivates Helena to betray Hermia and tell Demetrius of the plan?
- What plan do the actors have in Scene II?
- What does Oberon want from Titania?
- Why does Titania refuse Oberon’s request?
- What mission does Oberon give to Puck to carry out?
- What will the flower Oberon requests do to Titania?
- After observing Demetrius and Helena, what does Oberon tell Puck to do?
- What error does Puck make while carrying out Oberon’s orders?
- When Lysander awakes, who does he love?
- Why does Bottom feel like a prologue is needed for the play?
- What does Puck do to Bottom?
- Who does Titania fall in love with?
- How does Oberon realize what Puck has done wrong?
- Why do Hermia and Helena fight?
- How does Puck eventually fix the mistake he has made?
- Why does Titania eventually give Oberon the child he wants?
- Why does Oberon remove the spell from Titania’s eyes?
- Why does Theseus change his original decree about the lovers?
- What good news does Bottom share with the other actors?
- Why do the fairies do after everyone in the castle goes to sleep?
- Who is Puck addressing in his final monologue?
- What purpose does Puck’s final speech serve?
- What does he ask the audience to do?
Midsummer Night's Dream High School Lesson Plans
Shakespeare's "A Midsummer Night's Dream" is a rich yet whimsical play that high school students can find enjoyable and educational. Use the ideas in this series to teach this complex, comical work.
- A Midsummer Night’s Dream: Creative Interpretations of the Play
- A Midsummer Night’s Dream: Act by Act Quote Questions
- A Midsummer Night’s Dream: Act It Out!