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A Midsummer Night's Dream

by William Shakespeare
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Produce an instructional document reviewing the "do's and don'ts" of the love potion in A Midsummer Night's Dream. It should be a how-to guide explaining how to use the magic of the love potion without ruining the lives of those it affects. Maintain a tone that is consistent for your perspective (as Puck) and for your audience (fairies).

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We first encounter the love potion in act II, scene I of A Midsummer Night's Dream . Oberon tells Puck to fetch the purple flower with magical properties. If the flower's liquid is dropped on sleeping eyes, it cause that person to fall in love with the first thing it...

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We first encounter the love potion in act II, scene I of A Midsummer Night's Dream. Oberon tells Puck to fetch the purple flower with magical properties. If the flower's liquid is dropped on sleeping eyes, it cause that person to fall in love with the first thing it sees upon awaking.

  • On our "Do" list, we might want to include instructions on how to find the flower. Oberon speaks of a specific flower stuck by Cupid's bolt that gave it these magical properties. Now that Puck is giving the instructions, we should consider: are there more flowers the fairies must find and pluck from the Earth? Or if there is there only one that Puck already fetched, where has Puck stored it since then? We can only assume it would be in a safe and secure place, knowing the problems it can cause.

Oberon plans to use it on his wife Titania, but after seeing Demetrius spurn Helena, he instructs Puck to also use it on the "disdainful youth" wearing "Athenian garments." As we learn, this was not a specific enough description, for Puck puts the potion in Lysander's eyes instead, causing problems.

  • With that in mind, we should probably include instructions about how one should make sure one has the correct target. Do: be sure you put the potion on the correct sleeper. Don't: assume you have the right person without checking.

Lysander and Demetrius both see Helena when they awake, causing them to fight over her. They easily could have seen someone else.

  • Do: make sure the sleeper is near the person they are to fall in love with when they awake. Don't: let others approach the sleeper until then.

Since these instructions are coming from Puck, you also have lots of room for creativity in tone. Puck is a mischievous trouble maker. Perhaps his instructions involve puzzles and word games for the other fairies to solve. Perhaps he doesn't really care about being clear and concise, since he likes when things are crazy—or perhaps he's learned from his mistakes, and Oberon is ordering him to not play tricks in this instructional document.

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