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A Midsummer Night's Dream

by William Shakespeare

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What quotes describe the "woods near Athens" in Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream?

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In the first act of Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream, Hermia gives a brief description of the forest in order to tell Helena where she and Lysander will meet on the night they elope. She says the following:

"And in the wood, where often you and I

Upon faith primrose beds were wont to lie,

Emptying our bosoms of their counsel sweet.

There my Lysander and myself shall meet" (I.i.217-220).

Hermia's description of the forest includes the primrose beds that she and Helena used to lie upon. Helena soon gets the idea to tell Demetrius of the lovers' plan. She hopes that he will go to the forest to look for Hermia and Lysander, and this will give her a chance to follow close on his heels. 

Sure enough, Helena chases Demetrius through the woods, but he isn't impressed. He threatens Helena with the following:

"I'll run from thee and hide me in the brakes,

And leave thee to the mercy of wild beasts" (II.i.231-232).

With what Demetrius says to Helena in the above passage, the audience learns that there are many thickets in the woods in which Demetrius could hide, as well as wild animals that could attack anyone.

Oberon, the king of the fairies, also describes the place where Titania is sleeping in the forest when he speaks with Puck as follows:

"I know a bank where the wild thyme blows,

Where oxlips and the nodding violet grows,

Quite over-canopi'd with luscious woodbine,

With sweet musk-roses and with eglantine.

There sleeps Titania sometime of the night,

Lull'd in these flowers with dances and delight" (II.i.254-259).

Oberon includes a list of different types of flowers in his account of the woods. Therefore, from these three descriptions of the forest, the audience can picture what plant and animal life there is in the woods near Athens. 

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