Titania and Oberon accuse each other of being unfaithful.
Titania and Oberon are the king and queen of the fairies. They are in the middle of a big fight that is mostly about Titania’s possession of a changeling infant. They both want the changeling, so they accuse each other of infidelity. Titania accuses Oberon of loving Hippolyta, and Oberon accuses Titania of loving Theseus!
When Titania and Oberon fight, it sends the whole forest into disarray. Nothing grows properly, as if it were winter. Puck explains what is going on with the changeling.
Take heed the queen come not within his sight;
For Oberon is passing fell and wrath,
Because that she as her attendant hath
A lovely boy, stolen from an Indian king;
She never had so sweet a changeling;
And jealous Oberon would have the child
Knight of his train, to trace the forests wild … (Act 2, Scene 1)
While the fairies are having their little duel, the craftsmen have no idea. They are going into the woods to rehearse their play for Theseus and Hippolyta’s wedding privately. Puck does not like them so close to fairy territory and decides to have some fun with him. Part of this fun is setting Bottom up as Titania’s plaything (complete with a donkey head), at Oberon’s request.
There are a lot of lovers’ quarrels going on, since the two pairs of lovers in the wood are also fodder for Puck’s games. The wedding of Theseus and Hippolyta resolves most of the conflicts though. Puck removes his spells, and Egeus withdraws his protest against his daughter Hermia marrying Lysdander, leaving Helena free to marry Demetrius. Titania and Oberon make up after Oberon reveals the trick with Bottom.
Sound, music! Come, my queen, take hands with me,
And rock the ground whereon these sleepers be.
Now thou and I are new in amity,
And will to-morrow midnight solemnly
Dance in Duke Theseus' house triumphantly,
And bless it to all fair prosperity … (Act 4, Scene 1)
When fairies fight, everyone suffers. Although the dispute between Oberon and Titania may seem silly to us, it is part of the madness of this Shakespearean comedy. The dispute between the two fairies, as pointless as it is, is the backdrop for much of the goofy fun throughout the play.