What are some facts about the fairies in A Midsummer Night's Dream?  

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litteacher8 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Oberon is the king of the fairies, and Titania is the queen of the fairies.  They are very aware of the mortal world around them, because they know that Theseus and Hippolyta are getting married.  This causes jealousy in both of them, because each of them thinks that the other is in a relationship with or interested in the mortal counterpart.

Titania accuses Oberon of loving Hippolyta.  In reaction, Oberon accuses Titania of loving Theseus.

OBERON

How canst thou thus for shame, Titania,
Glance at my credit with Hippolyta,
Knowing I know thy love to Theseus?
Didst thou not lead him through the glimmering night
From Perigenia, whom he ravished?
And make him with fair AEgle break his faith,
With Ariadne and Antiopa? (Act 2, Scene 1) 

Titania’s reaction is to tell Oberon that these ideas are “the forgeries of jealousy.”  In fact, Oberon and Titania’s fight has grave consequences for the forest.  It causes an unnatural winter for the forest.  Oberon and Titania are also fighting over her changeling, which is kind of like a half human boy.  Oberon wants the boy “Knight of his train” and Titania isn’t giving him up. 

The fairies have an assortment of helper fairies.  Oberon is assisted by Puck, or Robin Goodfellow, the “knavish sprite.”  He seems to spend a lot of time among mortals causing mischief, so he is perfect for Oberon’s plot.  Oberon wants to make a mockery of Titania, so Puck anoints her eyes with a love potion and she falls in love with Bottom, the craftsman-actor, after Puck has replaced his head with an ass’s head.

In the end, the fairies make up and bless the wedding of Theseus and Hippolyta. The fairies bless Titania and Oberon’s castle and the three pairs of lovers, who have now been matched to the right people.  It is a happy ending for all.

Through this house each fairy stray.
To the best bride-bed will we,
Which by us shall blessed be;
And the issue there create
Ever shall be fortunate.
So shall all the couples three
Ever true in loving be … (Act 5, Scene 1)

 

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A Midsummer Night's Dream

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