A Midsummer Night's Dream: Act 3, Scene 1 - Summary & Analysis

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      Summary: Bottom and his company of actors arrive in the wood to begin their rehearsals for the play. Quince is eager and ready to start at once but Bottom who wants to be the chief director of the play insists that the script needs changes. Puck chances upon the rehearsal and being the spiteful spirit he is decides to play a trick on these Athenian rustics or "mechanicals". He puts the head of a donkey on the shoulders of Bottom, which is visible to everyone but Bottom. The men are horrified by Bottom's transformation and they run off, screaming "monstrous! O strange! we are haunted". Bottom thinks that his friends are trying to just frighten him and to prove his valor; he starts to sing a song. Bottom's booming and shrieking voice awakens Titania, who, under the spell of the flower, falls instantly in love with him and calls on four of her fairies, Peaseblossom, Cobweb, Moth, and Mustardseed to grant all of his wishes. Bottom introduces himself to each of the fairies as they lead him to Titania's resting place.

      Critical Analysis: This scene further adds to the confusion as Titania falls in love with a "donkey". It also signifies that Titania and her obstinate nature will now be put to test. Now that she is preoccupied with her intense affection for a donkey, it remains to be seen if she would now give up her changeling. The scene also furthers the emergence of the theme of love and its difficulties. As soon as Titania falls in love, she starts behaving in a rather nonsensical and foolish way. It also shows that since Titania is in an unhappy marriage, her desire to love gets manifested first through the character of a changeling and now through the character of Bottom.

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