Our storyteller Delia tells us Shakespeare's tale of A Mid Summer Night's Dream, in which Hermia and Lysander's forbidden love leads to an interesting plan of escape.
A Mid Summer Night's Dream
Lover’s Story Line
Art created by Anna Ha
Storytelling by Delia Barnett
One fateful day in Athens, Hermia’s father dragged her in front of the Duke to demand that she marry Demetrius.
“But father, I love Lysander, not Demetrius,” Hermia pleaded. Her father asked the Duke invoke an ancient law where by fathers could choose whom their daughters married, and if they did not, they had full permission to kill their daughters. The Duke, being soften by his own upcoming nuptials to Hippolita, the Queen of the Amazons, decreed that Hermia could marry Demetrius or go to a nunnery, and that was that.
Hermia was left alone with Lysander and they hatched a plan.
“We will steal away into the woods to my aunt’s house- there free from Athen’s law- we can live happily ever after,” Lysander said.
“Oh Lysander, that sounds perfect,” Hermia cooed, “Oh Wait, Here comes my friend Helena, Hello fair Helena”.
“Call you me fair?” Helena said, “Demetrius loves your fair, oh happy fair, if only I looked the way you looked Hermia. Demetrius would love me instead.”
“Fear not Helena,” Hermia said, “Lysander and I will flee this place and Demetrius shall never see me again.”
“Adieu, sweet Helena, as you dote on him, may Demetrius dote on you” Lysander said and he and Hermia rushed off to pack.
But Helena hatched a plan of her own. “I will tell Demetrius of fair Hermia’s flight and he will love me for my loyalty.” And off she ran to find Demetrius.
That night, Demetrius stormed into the wood, determined to find Hermia and bring her home to be his bride. Helena, much to his chagrin followed him.
“I love thee not, therefore pursue me not.” Demetrius demanded.
“Oh, Demetrius, I love you, and if you cannot love me as a human, love me as your spaniel… ruff ruff,” Helena begged.
Demetrius rolled his eyes and stormed on.
Unbeknownst to them, Oberon, the king of the fairies, had been watching the entire scene. He earlier in the evening had asked his friend, the mischievous fairy - Puck, to find a flower that had been hit by cupid’s bow and could create a love spell.
Puck was off gathering this flower, and when he came back, Oberon told him to anoint the Athenian man’s eyes. Puck asked “How will I recognize the man?” Oberon said:
“By his Athenian garments, of course.”
And off Puck went to find the lovers.
Meanwhile, Lysander and Hermia were lost in the woods and growing tired. They decided the sleep for the night and go on in the morning. While they were sleeping separately, Puck came upon the pair. He mistook Lysander for Demetrius, for who would have thought 2 men in Athenian garments would be lost in the woods this evening.
“This is HE! This lack-love, this kill curtesy, I will anoint his eyes,” Puck did so and then ran off to find Oberon.
Just then Demetrius ran by, followed by Helena. She was out of breath and stopped and that is when she tripped over Lysander.
“Lysander? Dead? or asleep?”
Just then Lysander awoke and with the love spell in his eyes, he saw Helena and fell in love with her instantly. Helena thought this must be a joke: “Wherefore was I to this keen mockery born?” she cried and ran off, followed by Lysander.
Hermia awoke from a nightmare and saw the Lysander was no longer near her and went off to find Lysander. She found Demetrius instead and the two began to argue. Then Hermia rushed off to find Lysander and Demetrius, tired, fell asleep.
Oberon had seen all this and realized that Puck had made a mistake and demanded that Puck put the love spell into Demetrius’ eyes. Puck did so and fled.
Meanwhile, Lysander was pleading with Helena to believe him that he loved her, stubbled over the sleeping Demetrius. When Demetrius awoke, he saw Helena and instantly fell in love with her “O Helena, goddess, nymph, divine!”
“O spite!” Helena yelled, convinced Demetrius was now making fun of her as well.
Just then Hermia caught up to the pair. Happy to see Lysander she reached for him, and he shrugged her off.
Helena was convinced the Hermia was in on this mockery with her 2 suitors. She begged Hermia to call off the joke.
Hermia thought that Helena was trying to steal her love from her and got angry “you canker-blossom! You thief of love!” she accused Helena.
Helena quickly pointed out “My legs are longer though to run away.” And Helena ran away, followed by Lysander, followed by Demetrius and followed by Hermia.
Oberon heard the commotion and shook his head at the drama. He demanded Puck set everything right. “Up and down, up and down, I will lead them up and down,” Puck promised and he led the lovers on wild goose chase through the forest.
Finally, using magic, he had them all asleep together in a grove. He used an antidote on Lysander’s eyes to remove the love spell.
In the morning, the Duke of Athens found all of the lovers asleep in the forest and woke them. They all thought the night’s adventures had just been the silliest dream and they laughed about it as they all walked back to Athens arm in arm.