A Midsummer Night's Dream. 5: Oberon's Revenge
Titania falls in love with Bottom transformed into a donkey...and Oberon discovers Puck's mistake.
5: Oberon's Revenge
Mistress Quince and her troupe of amateur actors meet in the forest to rehearse their play for the Duke’s wedding. While waiting offstage for his cue, Bottom has his head transformed into that of a donkey by the mischievous Puck. His companions flee in terror when they see him but Bottom, thinking that they are playing a trick on him, walks through the wood singing as he goes, to show that he is not afraid. He strays into the sleeping Titania, whereupon she wakes, sees him - and instantly falls in love!
Puck tells Oberon what has happened, much to their mutual delight. Hermia and Demetrius pass close by. Hermia suspects that Demetrius is somehow responsible for Lysander’s earlier disappearance and pleads with him to tell her where he is. When Demetrius cannot, she runs off to try to find him herself, whereupon Demetrius lays down to sleep.
Oberon, seeing all this, realises that Puck must have used the magic flower on some other Athenian. He commands Puck to find Helena and bring her to Demetrius, whose eyes he will charm to fall in love with her when she appears.
Activities - KS2
This episode sees all three groups of characters in the woods by night (lovers, fairies and mechanicals). For a drama exercise there could be a discussion about how these different characters might move around the space - eg:
- Oberon and Titania walking tall
- the lovers either being lost or in a hurry
- the mechanicals being out of their element and easily spooked The teacher could assign pupils a number (1 for fairies, 2 for lovers and 3 for mechanicals) and get them to move around the space as their characters, then get them to change roles.
This episode also sees the characters experience many different emotions - eg:
- Bottom (when transformed) is confused
- the rest of the mechanicals are terrified
- Puck is amused
- Oberon is furious
- Lysander is yearning with love when he arrives
- Helena is confused, frustrated and annoyed A comprehension exercise could involve matching characters to different emotions at different points in the episode.
A discussion could take place around why Puck puts a donkey head on Bottom? Is it funny or scary, or both?
As an art exercise, pupils could also produce sketches of Bottom with different transformed heads, from the funniest to the most terrifying.
Activities - KS3
Students could be asked to mind map Hermia’s feelings in this episode and explain why she feels the ways she does.
They could then write a PEE paragraph in answer to the question: “How is Hermia presented in Episode 5?” Students could then self-assess their paragraphs based on agreed success criteria and make corrections and / or improvements in response to peer assessment.