Illustration of a donkey-headed musician in between two white trees

A Midsummer Night's Dream

by William Shakespeare

Start Free Trial

Act I, Scene 1: Questions and Answers

Download PDF PDF Page Citation Cite Share Link Share

Study Questions
1. Why has Theseus ordered a revel?

2. What does he promise Hippolyta?

3. Why does Egeus bring Hermia, Lysander, and Demetrius to Theseus?

4. Why does Theseus tell Hermia to come to terms with her father’s choice of husband for her?

5. What is Hermia’s decision?

6. Why does Theseus lead Egeus and Demetrius away?

7. What is Lysander’s plan?

8. Why does Helena want to be like Hermia?

9. Why do Hermia and Lysander tell Helena the plan?

10. What does Helena intend to do with this information?

1. Theseus, Duke of Athens, has ordered a revel to celebrate his marriage to Hippolyta, Queen of the Amazons, who he won through battle. The marriage is to take place in four days when there is a new moon. He desires to “… Stir up the Athenian youth to merriments. Awake the pert and nimble spirit of mirth.”

2. Theseus promises Hippolyta that their marriage will be one of joy, unlike the warring he used to win her, by declaring, “…But I will wed thee in another key….”

3. Egeus brings Hermia, Lysander, and Demetrius to Theseus because he (Egeus) wants Hermia to marry Demetrius. Against Egeus’ will, Hermia wants to marry Lysander. Egeus wants Theseus to invoke the law requiring that a daughter marry the husband her father chooses for her or face the consequences: death or banishment to a nunnery. This is illustrated when Egeus says, “…I beg the ancient privilege of Athens….”

4. Theseus tells Hermia to come to terms with the husband her father has chosen for her or “…prepare to die for disobedience to your father’s will, … or on Diana’s alter to protest for aye austerity and single life.”

5. Hermia chooses to enter a nunnery rather than marry someone other than Lysander, who she feels is her true love. She protests, “So will I grow, so live, so die, my lord, ere I will yield my virgin patent up….”

6. Theseus leads Egeus and Demetrius away saying, “…But, Demetrius, come, and come Egeus, you shall go with me,” in order to speak with them privately. This is also a device to allow the actors to leave the stage so that Lysander and Hermia may plot alone.

7. Lysander’s plan is that Hermia and he will flee to his aunt’s house, in a place where, “…the sharp Athenian law cannot pursue…” them and where they may be married.

8. Helena wants Hermia to, “…teach me how you look and with what art …” because Demetrius loves Hermia and Helena wants his love for her own. She thinks that if only she were like Hermia, she could have his love.

9. Hermia and Lysander tell Helena their plan because Helena complains to Hermia that Demetrius wants only Hermia. They reassure Helena that Hermia will no longer be available to Demetrius and, as Hermia promises, “… he shall no more see my face,” since Hermia and Lysander are going to elope.

10. Helena intends to tell Demetrius that Hermia is going to elope with Lysander in the hope that he will pursue them, only to realize it is Helena he really loves at which point Helena will “… have his sight thither and back again.”

See eNotes Ad-Free

Start your 48-hour free trial to get access to more than 30,000 additional guides and more than 350,000 Homework Help questions answered by our experts.

Get 48 Hours Free Access

Act I, Scene 2: Questions and Answers