A Midsummer Night's Dream Act 5 Summary

     This act takes place in the palace of Theseus. The three couples are married and are celebrating by feasting and being entertained. Philostrate brings in a piece of paper with a list of possible performances that they could watch. Theseus reads the list to the couples to choose which one sounds the most interesting. They are intrigued by the play Pyramus and Thisbe. Quince enters and reads the prologue to introduce the play. The couples comment on all the questions they have about the play to come. The prologue introduces the characters and then leads into the action.

     The wall, played by Snout, then comes out and points out the hole, which is signified by his fingers, through which the lovers, Pyramus and Thisbe, whisper. Pyramus, played by Bottom, overacts and peeks through the wall to look for Thisbe. Thisbe appears and after they talk, they kiss through the wall; then they agree to meet later. When they leave, the lion appears and tells the audience he is really Snug. The Athenians appreciate his honesty. Thisbe appears under the moonlight looking to meet her love, but is met by the lion who tears off her cloak before she escapes. Pyramus enters and finds her bloody cloak, thinks his love is dead, and stabs himself. Thisbe returns to find her lover has died, so she stabs herself. Bottom jumps up to announce that the wall that parted their families is then removed and asks if they would like to see the Epilogue as well. Theseus tells them that the play was wonderful, and an epilogue isn't necessary, but they would love to see them dance.

     The scene then jumps to Puck followed soon after by Oberon, Titania, and the other fairies, who are all dancing and celebrating. Oberon blesses the three couples, wishing them long happy marriages together, many children, peace and safety. They exit leaving Puck to close out the play with his soliloquy telling the audience that if they were offended or in any way disliked anything in the play, they should just pretend it was all a dream.

     Pyramus and Thisbe, though not a real play, is very much based off of Romeo and Juliet. In its much shorter version it parallels many of the main actions of the play, including the lovers from feuding families, killing themselves to always be together. Despite the dramatic ending of this short performance, the play of A Midsummer Night's Dream is a comedy due to its happy ending with the triple marriage, the reuniting of the fairy king and queen, and the successful performance of the fake play.

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