Study Guide

A Midsummer Night's Dream Act 4, Scene 2

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Act 4, Scene 2

  • Back in Athens, the playacting gang is gathered at Quince's house. They're worried because no one has seen Bottom yet. If he's not around, the play can't go on.
  • Flute announces that certainly they can't perform the play because Bottom has the finest wit of any craftsman in Athens.
  • Quince announces that Bottom is the paramour of a sweet voice, and Flute points out that he means "paragon." (A paramour is a lover—usually in shady circumstances, like someone who's dating a married person; a paragon is the best example of something. They're pretty different.)
  • Snug enters the house, announcing that the Duke is coming from the temple with two or three more couples who were just married. Flute laments that, had they been able to perform, they'd no doubt be rich men, earning them at least sixpence a day (a royal pension).
  • Then Bottom shows up.
  • He says he can't possibly explain what's happened to him, so they shouldn't bother asking. Then, before anyone replies, he tells them he'll give them every last detail exactly as it happened. 
  • His friends definitely want to know everything, but the story will have to wait.
  • Since the Duke and Hippolyta are now hitched and have had their wedding cake, it's time for the Mechanicals to perform the play.
  • Bottom yells for everyone to get ready and tells them not to eat onion or garlic—he wants them to have "sweet" breath to make the audience say that they have put on a sweet comedy.

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