Study Guide

A Midsummer Night's Dream Act 2, Scene 2

By William Shakespeare

Act 2, Scene 2

  • Titania instructs her fairies to dance and sing her to sleep.
  • Afterwards, her attendants can go back to their fairy work and disappear.
  • Oberon slips in and manages to get the pansy juice onto Titania eyes before running off.
  • Lysander and Hermia come tripping in after Oberon exits. They're lost so they decide to stop for the night and rest.
  • Lysander wants to sleep close to Hermia but she tells him to back off because they're not married yet.
  • Lysander tries to sweet-talk Hermia but she's not having it.
  • They fall asleep separately.
  • Puck ambles onto the stage.
  • Puck thinks Lysander is Demetrius (because he's wearing Athenian clothes) and sprinkles the love juice on his eyelids.
  • Puck runs off to tell Oberon.
  • Then Demetrius runs onto the stage with Helena chasing after him. Demetrius tells her to scram but she refuses.
  • Demetrius exits the stage, leaving Helena to roam around on her own.
  • Helena, finally weary of running after Demetrius, wanders alone for a bit, talking to herself about how poorly she measures up to Hermia. Hermia's eyes are so much brighter—probably, Helena thinks, because she hasn't spent as much time crying as Helena has. In the middle of her pity party, she notices Lysander on the ground. Worried that he's dead, she shakes him awake. 
  • Lysander takes one look at Helena and falls in love at first sight. Then he says he's going to kill Demetrius.
  • Helena is confused and thinks Lysander is mocking her, which adds to the indignity of Demetrius not loving her. She exits, certain that she's being punked.
  • Lysander says he never wants to see Hermia again and deserts her while she's sleeping.
  • Hermia wakes up from a horrible dream. Thinking Lysander is still sleeping near her, she recounts the nightmare: she thought a serpent was eating her heart while Lysander stood by smiling.
  • Hermia then realizes that Lysander's not there.
  • She panics and runs off looking for him, promising she'll either find her love or kill herself.