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

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What is the meaning of the title of, A Midsummer Night's Dream? Why is Midsummer important to the themes of the play?

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The singularity of midsummer among the four seasons is key to this play. Summer is the fairy season: as Titania says, "the spring, the summer, / The childing autumn, angry winter, change / Their wonted liveries," but it is in midsummer that the fairies really hold court and are able to dabble in the lives of humans. The "dream" in the title may refer to the magical orchestrations of Puck and Oberon, which influence the sleep of Demetrius and Lysander, or to Bottom's dream; or, indeed, it may imply that the play itself is a dreamlike interlude in the lives of the audience.

Shakespeare's audience would have understood why such events, and such contact between fairies and humans, could only happen on midsummer night. Midsummer has been celebrated in Britain since medieval times on June 23, and was once a very significant festival involving dancing, singing, bonfires, and so...

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fashionableb1 | Student

Although the title suggests that the events of the play occur on june 23 (Midsummer Night), internal references make clear that the action takes place in the period just prior to May 1 (May Day). The title is significant for its suggestion of the "madness" traditionally associated with the celebration of the summer solstice. 

Wiggin42 | Student

The word dream is also important to understanding the play's themes. There are multiple layers of dreaming. The lovers, Theseus, Titania, and even Bottom have a supernatural dream-like experience. Ultimately, Puck insinuates that the audience dreamed up the whole play. This creates a surreal situation where no one knows reality from fantasy. This tone pairs nicely with the juxtaposition of mortals and fairies.