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

A Midsummer Night's Dream

by William Shakespeare

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Act I, Scene 2: Questions and Answers

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Study Questions
1. Why do the craftsmen meet?

2. Why is Quince the one assigning the roles?

3. What is Bottom’s reaction to his assigned role?

4. What is Flute’s misgiving about his assignment?

5. Why does Bottom want to play Flute’s role?

6. What is Snug’s worry?

7. Why does Bottom want to play Snug’s role?

8. What do Quince and Bottom caution about the role of the Lion?

9. Why does Quince insist Bottom play Pyramus?

10. Where are the men to meet next?

1. The craftsmen meet to assign and discuss the roles they will have, “… to play in our interlude before the Duke and the Duchess on his wedding day at night.” Quince wrote and is directing this play for Theseus’ and Hippolyta’s wedding, which is to be held during the new moon, four days hence.

2. Quince is the person assigning the roles because he wrote the play with, “…every man’s name which is thought fit …” for certain roles. As the director, it is his job to cast the actors in the parts for which they are most suited—an easy job for him since he is also the dramatist (playwright).

3. Bottom’s reaction to his assigned role is that he wants to know who Pyramus is and, when told, proclaims he will have everyone crying with his portrayal of this lover who dies. To quote, “I will move storms; I will condole in some measure.”

4. Flute’s misgiving about his assignment is that he is growing a beard and women don’t have beards—so how can he play the part of a woman? As he protests, “Nay, faith, let not me play a woman. I have a beard coming.”

5. Bottom requests, “…let me play Thisbe, too,” because he wants to wear the mask the character will be wearing and use a small voice, as Flute will have to do to portray a woman.

6. Snug’s worry is that he will not have enough time to memorize his lines since he is, “slow of study” as he phrases it, and the play is to be in only four days.

7. Bottom requests, “Let me play the lion too,” so that he may roar as Snug will have to for this part. Bottom seeks the exciting or “fun” parts for himself, possibly giving us a hint as to his nature.

8. Quince and Bottom caution the Lion not to frighten the ladies in the audience because, “…that were enough to hang us all.”

9. Quince insists Bottom, “…must needs play Pyramus,” because he has both the bearing and the face of this character. Remembering that Quince wrote the play with Bottom in mind for the role of Pyramus will also help explain Quince’s insistence on Bottom playing this particular role.

10. The men are next to meet, “At the Duke’s Oak…” which happens to be in the haunted wood, although the craftsmen are not aware that the fairies are now in residence there.

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Act I, Scene 1: Questions and Answers


Act II, Scene 1: Questions and Answers