A Midsummer's Nightmare (Act 2, Scene 1)

Aaaand, we're finally in those (in)famous woods! That's where fairies live, and appropriately, one hops by, singing in rhymed verse. She's Queen Titania's errand girl, and is rather boring.

Puck is also around, and he's much more interesting. He also goes by Robin Goodfellow. He's Oberon's jester and pranks random people for the fun of it. He could've been an interesting character, but he doesn't really prank people other than on the orders of Oberon. Really sad.

The fairy and Puck blather about unimportant things, before getting to the main point: Titania got a little Indian boy, and dotes on him. She refuses to give him up to Oberon, who wants him as a page. In short, they're squabbling over a little boy.


Titania and Oberon are squabbling over the same boy.

*winces* It doesn't help that Oberon's name reminds me of Oberyn Martell.

And speak of the devil! The Fairy King and Queen waltz in with their train of attendants, which makes me think of a bunch of servants squished into the shape of a train. If someone is bored enough to make a graphic I'll only be too happy to post it here with appropriate credit.

Anyways, they start facing off and accusing each other of being unfaithful. Interesting how Oberon is apparently into Hippie and Titania had an affair with Theseus too. Their petty feud has led to all sorts of mess in the natural world. Titania declares that she's hanging around until Theseus and Hippie's wedding is over and invites Oberon to participate, but he refuses unless he gets the li'l Indian boy. They argue for a bit more before Titania storms out, leaving Oberon alone with Puck.

Oberon commands Puck to bring him some flower petals. If the juice is squeezed onto a sleeping person's eyelids, said person will fall in love with the first thing it sees when it wakes. Sort of like how goslings recognize their mother. It's a handy plot device, but we don't talk about that.

Puck flies off to grab the flower, and Demetrius and Helena run onstage, arguing like an old married couple. Oberon becomes invisible and hangs around to eavesdrop. Despite Demetrius' best attempts to dissuade her, Helena insists she loves him and wants to follow him. This particular bit spooks me out:
Helena: And even for that do I love you the more. I am your spaniel ...
Okay then. This is how I will imagine Helena forever:

From It's actually sort of cute. 
It gets worse:
Helena: And what worser place can I beg in your love ... Than to be us├Ęd as you use your dog?

Consider the implications of 'use'. Here's a bucket for you to vomit in and a complimentary bottle of brain bleach.

Moving on. Helena bemoans how men are supposed to pursue women, not the other way around. This is supposed to signify gender reversal, which Demetrius probably doesn't find interesting either, because he marches off. Helena, of course, follows after him like a dog after its master.

Puck returns with the flower Oberon asked for. Oberon orders Puck to spread the juice on the "Athenian man['s]" eyelids so that he will have the hots for the girl. Great! Meanwhile, Oberon himself will tackle Titania and smear the juice on her eyes, so that when she wakes up she'll fall in love with some grotesque creature. Maybe it'll be a spider, how nice! Then she'll be forced to give up the Indian boy to make Oberon take the spell off her.

I really don't understand why he doesn't smear the juice and make himself the person Titania falls madly in love with. Then he can make her give him the Indian boy, end of story. But of course, that'd be too simple and Shakespeare needs more plot so he can make a suitably long play and earn money.

Next up: Act 2, Scene 2. Things get muddled up by the almighty love juice.

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