Why does Hippolyta initially seem hesitant to watch the play in Act V?
In Act V, Hippolyta is initially hesitant to watch the play because she does not want the amateur actors to be put in a difficult position.
I love not to see wretchedness o'er chargedAnd duty in his service perishing.
The kinder we, to give them thanks for nothing.Our sport shall be to take what they mistake.And what poor duty cannot do, noble respectTakes it in might, not merit.
Where I have seen them shiver and look pale,
Make periods in the midst of sentences,Throttle their practiced accent in their fears
Hippolyta initially does not want to watch the play because Philostrate has told them that the play is especially horrible, but Philostrate also admits that it was so bad that he could not help but laugh.
Having heard of the total ineptness of the players (Peter Quince and his troupe), she fears they will be so bad that people will laugh at them. She doesn't think this is appropriate or compassionate.