Preparation for Wedding
Theseus, the Duke of Athens, is preparing for the wedding with Hippolyta, whom he has won in a battle. Egeus enters along with his daughter Hermia, Lysander (whom she loves) and Demetrius (whom Egeus wants to marry his daughter). Egeus asks Theseus to make his daughter agree to marry Demetrius and if she refuses, then give her death sentence.
Theseus being practical and rational, first persuades Hermia to do as per the wish of her father, but when she refuses, he gives her a period of four days to choose between Demetrius and death or remain a nun.
In the Forest
Hermia and Lysander decide to run away and meet in the forest. While they were discussing their plans, Helena, who also supports their union, somehow gets known to their plan.
As she is in love with Demetrius, she decides to expose this plan to Demetrius, so that he may be pleased with her. Eventually, she tells the king. Demetrius chases those lovers to the forest. Helena follows him.
Now in the forest, a group of craftsmen are rehearsing a play that is supposed to be performed in the marriage of Theseus. There is also a band of fairies, including Oberon, the fairy king, and Titania, his queen, who has recently returned from India to bless the marriage of Theseus and Hippolyta.
There is a quarrel between Oberon and Titania over a young Indian prince given to Titania by the prince’s mother. The boy is very beautiful and thus Oberon wants to make him a knight but Titania does not agree to it.
The Magical Flower
Oberon gets very angry with her and wants to teach her a lesson. He orders Puck, who is very mischievous, to bring a magical flower, the juice of which is spread over a sleeping person’s eyes, that person will fall in love with the first thing he or she sees upon waking.
Puck brings the flower. Oberon orders Puck to spread its juice over the eyes of Titania. Puck does the same. Oberon happens to see the cruelty of Demetrius and wants to punish him too.
He orders Puck to put some magical juice over his eyes too. Puck encounters Lysander and Hermia. He takes Lysander to be the one of whom Oberon spoke and thus spreads magic juice over his eyes.
When Lysander wakes up, he happens to see Helena and falls in love with her, thus abandoning Hermia. Later on, Puck recognises his mistake and wants to undo his mistake. As a result, both Lysander and Demetrius end up in love with Helena. Helena thinks that they at mocking her. Hermia becomes jealous of Helena and challenges her to a duel.
On the other hand, Lysander and Demetrius are about to fight but Puck confuses them by mimicking their voices that lead them apart until they are lost in the forest. Puck also mockingly transforms the head of a craftsman (Bottom) into that of an ass.
Bottom’s friends on seeing him run away and he himself runs to them. When Titania wakes up, she happens to see that ass-headed man i.e. Bottom and falls in love with him and starts chasing him.
Both Oberon and Puck watch them and laugh at them. Ultimately Oberon obtains the Indian boy from Titania. On his order, Puck restores the situation back to normal. As the morning comes, everything is fine.
Theseus and Hippolyta find the sleeping lovers in the forest and take them back to Athens to be married. Now Demetrius now loves Helena, and Lysander now loves Hermia. After the marriage ceremony, the craftsmen present their play.