Midsummer Night's Dream|
Theme: Love and
Love and magic rule
the world of this fanciful comedy set in ancient Athens
and a nearby woods. The fair maiden Hermia loves
Lysander, but her father insists that Demetrius be her
mate. To escape a forced marriage, Hermia runs away with
Lysander to the woods, followed by Demetrius (who is
madly in love with Hermia) and Helena (her friend who
hopelessly loves Demetrius). Unknowingly, the lovers
enter the kingdom of fairies, where love potions and
magical transformations are the order of the night.
After a wild night of confusion, harmony is restored,
love is set right, and weddings are
Have students work in small
groups to create a chart that lists different sources
of romantic attraction. Encourage students to be as
specific as possible. For example, one column of the
chart might list physical attributes, such as
sparkling eyes, a delicate complexion, luxurious hair,
athleticism, and so on. A second column might list
personality characteristics, such as a sense of humor,
kindness, intelligence, and so on. Challenge students
to go beyond the obvious in their lists. Have each
group share its completed chart with the class.
Discuss what the charts reveal about the nature of
- Linking to Today: Contemporary Images of Love.
Invite students to discuss how romantic love
is portrayed in contemporary culture. Encourage them
to consider how love is depicted in movies, television
shows, commercials, music, and other media. Is love
depicted as irrational, or does it have a basis in
sound judgment? Is love measured by the excitement it
creates or the commitment it elicits? Discuss how
popular images of love might influence young people or
reflect their own experiences of love.
Speaking of Love.
Ask students to imagine
that they are one of the characters in the play. Have
them write and deliver a speech about the nature of
love and its importance in marriage. Instruct them to
use quotes from A Midsummer Night's Dream and
refer to incidents in the play.
- Fairy Cartoons.
Have interested students
create a cartoon strip of their favorite scene in the
play. Encourage them to illustrate elements that would
be especially difficult to portray onstage, such as
the size of fairies and Bottom's fantastic
- The Magic of Mythical Creatures.
Instruct students to research a type of
mythical creature, such as mermaids, gnomes,
leprechauns, golems, or genies. Have them write an
essay comparing the creature that they research and
the fairies in A Midsummer Night's Dream.
- Here Comes the Bride.
In this project,
students will work in groups to research and present
marriage customs around the world and across the ages.
- Have the class brainstorm to create a list of
countries and historical periods that students are
interested in researching. Then have them ask
questions about marriage that they think should be
answered, such as the following: What are the typical
ages of brides and grooms? What role do the parents
have in the choice of a marriage partner? What
financial arrangements are involved? What are the
customs of the marriage ceremony and celebration?
- Divide the class into small groups. Have each
group choose a country and a historical period. Group
members should discuss and decide among themselves how
they will divide work and present information.
Possible formats include posters, collages,
audiotapes, videotapes, computer presentations,
dramatic scenes, puppet shows, lectures, panel
discussions, and question-and-answer sessions.
- Each group should do the necessary research and
ensure that information about marriage customs is
presented clearly and accurately. Some groups may
require rehearsal time.