What are the characteristics of the major characters in A Midsummer Night's Dream?

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esoppelt eNotes educator| Certified Educator

A Midsummer Night's Dream has a large cast of characters. There are twenty-two characters with lines and the option to include many others in the play. There are seven characters that could be considered main characters because of the size of their parts and the impact they have on the plot.

First there are the four lover characters: Hermia, Helena, Demetrius and Lysander. All four are head over heels in love and all four have something standing in the way of that love. Hermia and Lysander are in love but Hermia’s father Egeus doesn’t want them to marry. Instead he wants Hermia to marry Demetrius. Demetrius is in love with Hermia but she is not in love with him so even though he has Egeus’ support, Hermia refuses to marry him. Helena is Hermia’s friend and she is in love with Demetrius. But he does not return her feelings. All four spend the play trying to get their love to work out because being with the person they love is what is most important to them.

The other main characters are the fairy characters: Oberon, Titania and Puck. Oberon is the king of the fairies and Titania is the queen. Puck is Oberon’s servant. Oberon and Titania both like to be in charge and there is a power struggle between them over a young boy who they both want as a servant. Oberon tells Puck to use magic on Titania to make her fall in love with someone so she is distracted from her fight with him over the boy. Puck does so but in the process also casts a spell on Demetrius and Lysander. Puck is mischievous and likes to play tricks. His tricks are what lead to most of the conflicts in the piece.

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A Midsummer Night's Dream

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