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A Midsummer Night's Dream

15951596

A Midsummer Night's Dream is a comedy written by William Shakespeare in 1595/96. It portrays the events surrounding the marriage of Theseus, the Duke of Athens, to Hippolyta, the former queen of the Amazons. These include the adventures of four young Athenian lovers and a group of six amateur actors (the mechanicals) who are controlled and manipulated by the fairies who inhabit the forest in which most of the play is set. The play is one of Shakespeare's most popular works for the stage and is widely performed across the world.

Oberon, Titania and Puck with Fairies Dancing by William Blake, c. 1786

Date and text

The play was entered into the Register of the Stationers' Company on 8 October 1600 by the bookseller Thomas Fisher, who published the first quarto edition later that year. A second quarto was printed in 1619 by William Jaggard, as part of his so-called False Folio. The play next appeared in print in the First Folio of 1623. The title page of Q1 states that the play was "sundry times publicly acted" prior to 1600. The first performance known with certainty occurred at Court on 1 January 1605.

The title page from the first quarto, printed in 1600

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Published in 17/09/2018

Updated in 19/02/2021

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