A Midsummer Night's Dream: Act 3, Scene 2 - Summary & Analysis

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      Summary: In another part of the forest, Puck rushes back and informs his master, Oberon that Titania has fallen in love with an ass. Needless to say, Oberon is delighted by this news. He feels that this will give him the moment that he has been waiting for, which is to ask Titania to give up the changeling. Puck also tells Oberon that he has successfully bewitched the mortal Athenian, but when Demetrius enters, arguing with Hermia, Oberon is amazed and bewildered. He says, "This is the woman; but not this the man". Hermia demands to know what Demetrius has done with Lysander as she feels that Demetrius must have harmed Lysander in some way, and when Demetrius incessantly proclaims that he knows nothing about what happened to Lysander, Hermia is confused and angry and rushes off into the wood. Demetrius is tired and feeling weary so he goes to sleep on the forest floor. Oberon scolds Puck for putting the wrong Athenian under the spell, and he commands him to find Helena, while he himself puts the magical juice on Demetrius' eyes. When Helena comes back, Lysander is following her, desperately begging her to accept his love. Demetrius wakes up under the effect of the magic potion and he too falls in love with Helena:

To what, my love, shall I compare thine eyne? Crystal is muddy. O, how ripe in show
Thy lipsz those kissing cherries, tempting grow!
Hi at pure congealed white, high Taurus snow,
Fann'd with the eastern wind, turns to a crow
When thou hold'st up thy hand: O, let me kiss
This princess of pure white, this seal of bliss!

      Helena believes both men are mocking and ridiculing her. Hermia enters the scene, looking for Lysander, and is surprised by Lysander s behavior toward Helena. Flelena assumes Hermia must be involved in the malicious mockery, and a verbal duel begins amongst the four. Lysander and Demetrius storm away to fight a battle over who deserves Helena and must get her and Oberon sends Puck to straighten out the situation once and for all. Oberon also instructs Puck with plan which he can use to sort out this chaotic situation. When wit Lysander, Puck pretends to be Demetrius, and when with Demetrius, puck pretends to be Lysander, sending them running throughout the forest in order to prevent the potentially fatal confrontation and eventually tiring them both out. This leads them to both falling asleep as they are exhausted. When Lysander falls asleep, Puck applies an antidote to the magical juice to Lysander's eyelids.

      Critical Analysis: This scene is important as it is packed with action. The scene begins with Puck taking center stage, who on the instructions of Oberon, sets out to find Demetrius and squeeze the magical potion on his eyelids. Puck also has to rectify his mistake as he does not want to upset Oberon. The end result is that by the end of the scene, Puck has rectified his mistake and reunited the two couples.

      The scene gives us a glimpse into the character traits of Oberon and Puck. Oberon is an intelligent and active ruler. As soon as he realizes that Puck has committed a mistake, he does not lose his mind or the sight of reality. He quickly thinks of a way by which he can rectify the situation and ensure that Demetrius is reunited with Helena and Lysander is reunited with Hermia. He even takes part in this plan to ensure a favorable and successful outcome. Puck is also extremely diligent in following his duties. He does not let his free spiritedness interfere with his duty which he most sincerely obeys.

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