What are Theseus and Hippolyta discussing at the play's start?

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pohnpei397's profile pic

pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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Theseus is the Duke of Athens.  Hippolyta is the woman he is going to marry.  They are going to be married quite soon (4 more days) and that is what they are talking about when the play starts.

Specifically, the two of them are talking about how eager they are to get married.  They are really impatient for the four days to pass so that they can get married.

They only talk about this for a very little while in the first scene of the play.  Very soon, they are interrupted by Egeus, who has come to have Theseus lay down the law to Egeus's daughter, Hermia.

lit24's profile pic

lit24 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Valedictorian

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Shakespeare's "A Midsummer Night's Dream" opens in the palace of the Greek Duke Theseus just four days before Theseus' marriage to Hippolyta:

Now, fair Hippolyta, our nuptial hour
Draws on apace; four happy days bring in
Another moon

Theseus is very impatient and complains that he has to wait for four more days before he can marry Hippolyta. She in turn advises him to be patient and assures him that these four days will quickly pass and then they can be happily married:

Four days will quickly steep themselves in night;
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 then orders his steward to go out into the streets of Athens and organise the festivities connected with his impending marriage:

Go, Philostrate,
Stir up the Athenian youth to merriments;

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