A Midsummer Night's Dream Questions and Answers
by William Shakespeare

A Midsummer Night's Dream book cover
Start Your Free Trial

What is the meaning of Shakespeare's title A Midsummer Night's Dream ?

Expert Answers info

Adah Rubens eNotes educator | Certified Educator

calendarEducator since 2018

write512 answers

starTop subjects are Literature, History, and Social Sciences

The title of the play can be interpreted in several ways. Even though Shakespeare sets the play in May, it is obvious that Midsummer Night’s refers to the summer solstice, which shifts between June 20, 21, 22 and 23. During the Elizabethan Era, this day was celebrated as a holiday which involved dancing, singing, partying, socializing with people and collecting various herbs. The holiday was a celebration of love and marriage, but also of magic, secrecy, illusion and even madness, as many would make love potions and create various magical charms to dream about their soulmates and find their true...

(The entire section contains 3 answers and 687 words.)

Unlock This Answer Now


check Approved by eNotes Editorial

Colin Cavendish-Jones, Ph.D. eNotes educator | Certified Educator

briefcaseCollege Professor, Lawyer

bookM.A. from Oxford University

bookPh.D. from St. Andrews University


calendarEducator since 2019

write2,061 answers

starTop subjects are Literature, History, and Law and Politics

check Approved by eNotes Editorial

Tamara K. H. eNotes educator | Certified Educator

calendarEducator since 2010

write3,619 answers

starTop subjects are Literature, History, and Social Sciences



check Approved by eNotes Editorial


lenahong114 | Student

The title of one of Shakespeare's greatest comedies "A Midsummer Night's Dream" is an allusion (a reference) to the summer solstice (the longest day of the year), around June 23, but in fact the play is set in May. Still, the holiday of "A Midsummer Night's Dream" is appropriate since this day was associated with magic (herbs gathered on this night could charm), with lover’s dreams, and with madness. The very essence of the word "dream" in the tile also alludes to the subconscious, the very part of us in which we dream, when we impart our desires for better or worse upon our subconscious to take form. That is what happens to some of the characters in the play in which spells are cast and their subconscious is brought forth bringing to the surface one's deepest desires, thus adding to the comical elements of the play.

check Approved by eNotes Editorial