A Midsummer Night - Questions & Answers Act 1

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A Midsummer Night's Dream

By William Shakespeare

Act One

1.   The story takes place in Athens and nearby woods during the age of myth in ancient Greece and Combines elements of Ancient Greece with elements of Renaissance England. The line 165, “And in the wood, a league without the town,” (I, i, 9) and line 247, “Then to the wood will he tomorrow night” (I, i, 12) describe this.  Athens is described in line 227, “Through Athens I am thought as fair as she.” (I, i, 12). However, the play has the atmosphere and the mood that one can perceive the place to be anywhere. In Elizabethan England, Midsummer Day was the feast of Saint John the Baptist and it fell on June 24 where it was the time of feasting and merriment.  It was believed that on Midsummer Night that the fairies and witches held their festival. To dream about Midsummer Night was to conjure up images of fairies and witches and other similar creatures and supernatural events. [1]

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2.  In line 16, “Hippolyta, I woo'd thee with my sword,” (I, i, 3) and line 17, “And won thy love, doing thee injuries;” (I, i, 3); according to the play, Hippolyta and Theseus meet in battle. 

3.  Helena speaks with rhymes, so that we the readers can understand the way the way her character feels.  For example, lovers in Shakespeare’s time normally spoke in rhyming couplets (two lines of verse that form a unit alone or as part of a poem)[2].  This can be taken in account for because Helena is committed in her original passions: she ...

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