Here is the plot of A Midsummer Night’s Dream broken down into 8 manageable chunks for students to work with and mess about with. We do a lot of different activities with a plot outline like this from starting with a simple Still Image for each section activity all the way to looking for lines from the text to act out an overview of the play. This is all mainly for Key Stage 3 students, possibly even for Key Stage 2 students and largely inspired by the RSC Shakespeare Toolkit for Teachers.
- The play starts with the Duke describes how he met his new bride and a party has been planned to celebrate the Dukes wedding. The Duke also wants his daughter (Girl 1) to marry a man (Boy 1) who The Duke likes.
- When the Dukes daughter (Girl 1) refuses to marry the man (Boy 1) the Duke wants her to, he decides that she must die. Girl 1 then runs with away the man (Boy 2) she really loves and Boy 1 goes after them, followed by Girl 2, who is in love with Boy 1. The also Duke goes hunting for them with his dogs.
- Meanwhile six workman rehearse a play that they plan to perform at the party to celebrate Duke Theseus’ wedding and one of the workman, called Bottom, wants to play every part in the performance.
- That same night as the workman are rehearsing Girl 1, Girl 2, Boy 1 and Boy 2 fall asleep in different places around the wood. One of the Fairies, called Puck, puts love potions first into the eyes of Boy 1 and then into the eyes of Boy 2 so that they both fall in love with Girl 2. This makes Girl 1 very unhappy and Girl 2 very confused.
- During the next rehearsal the next day Puck uses magic to give Bottom a head of a donkey. At the same time the fairy King plays a trick on the fairy Queen by casting a spell on her, whilst asleep, to fall in love with the first thing she sees when she wakes up. Of course the first thing she sees is Bottom with a donkeys head! She instantly falls in love!
- Later than day after the Fairy Queen falls in love with Bottom and his Donkeys head, Puck reverses the potion in Boy 2, but not Boy 1. So now Boy 2 loves Girl 1 AND Boy 1 loves Girl 2.
- The fairy Queen realises that she is in love with a donkey and she is horrified. Bottom is then returned to normal and the Fairy King and Queen make up.
- The play ends with boy 2 marries Girl 1 AND Boy 1 marries Girl 2 at the same time as when the Duke marries and a silly play is performed at their party, which the Workman think is really well liked.
Here is a worksheet that can be used with it that asks the students to place the plot of the play in the correct order. We use it at the beginning of the second lesson on A Midsummer Night’s Dream after going through the plot in Lesson 1. Plot of MND Worksheet