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A Midsummer Night's Dream

by William Shakespeare

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What is the most important scene in A Midsummer Night's Dream?

Quick answer:

The most important scene in A Midsummer Night's Dream is act 5, scene 1, because it unites all the formerly disparate groups in the play, ties up all the loose ends, and provides the most brilliant comic experience in the play, the tale of Pyramus and Thisbe.

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There are only nine scenes in A Midsummer Night's Dream, very few by the standards of a Shakespeare play. The most important of them is act 5, scene 1. This is the only scene in act 5, and it finally brings together all four groups: the court, the lovers, the actors, and the fairies. The complex plot is resolved, the couples are united in the correct pairs, and Oberon blesses the newlyweds' marriage beds. This a fairly conventional happy ending for a comedy.

Modern audiences are sometimes disappointed by comedies from Shakespeare's time, since the term refers primarily to a play that ends happily rather than one which makes the audience laugh. However, the final scene of A Midsummer Night's Dream is uproariously funny, perhaps the most brilliantly comic scene in any work by Shakespeare. This is because it contains the play within the play, Pyramus and Thisbe, a romantic story similar to Romeo and Juliet, but much better-known in Shakespeare's time. The ham acting of Bottom and his company, the awfulness and bathos of the poetry, and the sarcastic comments of the courtiers combine to make the tale of Pyramus and Thisbe the highlight of the play. This scene, quite apart from being the finest and the most dramatically important in A Midsummer Night's Dream, could also easily stand alone as a one-act play.

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