A Midsummer Night's Dream. 8: A Wedding Play
The lovers return to Athens for a triple wedding. Bottom and his friends perform their play.
8: A Wedding Play
The lovers wake up in the woods on the day of Theseus’s wedding. Lysander sees Hermia and falls in love with her again, thanks to the magic flower, rubbed on his eyes the night before by Puck. Demetrius has eyes only for Helena.
They are met by Theseus, Hippolyta and Hermia’s father, Egeus. Egeus is angry and calls for Lysander to be punished for attempting to elope with his daughter. But Theseus invites both couples back to Athens to be married alongside him.
Quince and friends perform their play about Pyramus and Thisbe, to the considerable merriment of the wedding guests.
Puck has the last word, making his famous apology: "If we shadows have offended, think but this and all is mended: that you have but slumbered here, while these visions did appear."
Activities - KS2
Pupils can consolidate their recall of the events of the story by completing the sequencing activity. Either print out and write a number in each box or cut the sheet into squares and assemble the nine pictures created in the correct order.
The key story beats of the play can be revisited in a few key scenes - eg:
- Theseus’s ruling in Episode 1
- Hermia’s fight with Helena in Episode 6
- Titania waking up and realising what has happened to her in Episode 7
Pupils could be asked to match key lines from these scenes with the scenes themselves and then construct those scenes as freeze frames. The teacher could then ask for volunteers to participate in a hot-seating exercise as a character of their choice, taking questions from the teacher and from the class.
Puck’s closing monologue could serve as a springboard to a discussion about dreams and the dreamlike elements of Shakespeare’s play. Pupils could then be asked to construct their own dream stories featuring some of the dreamlike elements discussed.
As an art exercise, pupils could be asked to design new costumes for the mechanicals, as well as develop their own new looks for any character of their choice.
Activities - KS3
Using an event ladder with 8 rungs, students could be asked to summarise the events of each part of the adaptation, adding key quotes to each rung on the ladder.
As the basis of an extended creative writing task, students could be asked to think about the strangest dream they’ve ever had, try to remember what happened in it, consider why people dream and what dreams might tell them about themselves.
They could write about a dream that they have had and work in pairs to mark against agreed critical criteria and then re-draft, taking care to use powerful verbs and adjectives to add to the writing.