Oberon wonders whom Titania fell in love with. Puck conveniently shows up, and instead of saying "Puck told Oberon what had happened with Bottom", we have a long rant about what just happened with Bottom. Sad thing about plays. Oberon is pleased, but wonders what happened to the "Athenian man".
Demetrius and Hermia show up. In case you forgot in the hiatus, Hermia is Lysander's lover and Demetrius is engaged to Hermia. They bicker. Hermia thinks Demetrius killed Lysander, or why else would he leave her? Demetrius denies it. Hermia runs off. Demetrius goes "oh well, no point following my betrothed even though she fled once" and sleeps. Okay then.
Oberon reproaches Puck, because he's supposed to bewitch Demetrius instead of Lysander. Another 'as you know, Bob' — instead of bewitching Demetrius to love Helena, Puck bewitched Lysander to love Helena. That sort of sunk the Lysander/Hermia ship. Oberon suddenly knows Helena's name and orders Puck to fetch her, while he puts the love juice on Demy's eyes.
Puck finds Helena and Lysander, and gives one of the best Shakespeare lines ever: "Lord, what fools these mortals be!" Then Lysander and Helena enter. Lysander professes his love to Helena, who responds that he's supposed to be in love with Hermia. Their bickering wakes Demetrius, who now loves Helena:
DEMETRIUS Thy lips, those kissing cherries, tempting grow!/That pure congealèd white, high Taurus' snow.Okay. So he thinks Helena is Snow White. (For the record, Helena does have dark hair. I checked.)
Hermia runs back in, and find that instead of Lysander and Demetrius both pursuing her, now they both want Helena. She's confused and rambles on. Helena gets pissed and thinks that it's all a prank to make her feel inadequate. Hermia also gets pissed and thinks Helena seduced the men. They fall out and think it's the greatest betrayal ever because they used to sew together, and embroidery means BFFs, right? This goes on for about four pages, until we get another gem:
HERMIA And with her personage, her tall personage, Her height, forsooth, she [Helena] hath prevailed with him.So essentially, Hermia thinks that Helena seduced Lysander by her height. Her height. After all those rants about true love, it boils down to the last centimeter or two. They bicker for another page. Lysander and Demetrius decide to duel over Helena and leave. Helena is scared and skedaddles. Hermia follows.
Oberon and Puck, who have been hanging back, come forward. Oberon blames Puck for the mess. Puck responds, very reasonably, that Oberon didn't say which Athenian man, and that they're very amusing. They rant about how normal spirits cannot work in daytime but Oberon is an exception. So they have to hurry to fix everything but don't really have to.
Puck leads Demetrius and Lysander to their respective
Wait, rant time.
Like, Shakespeare is awesome. I don't discount that, and I admire his themes and his style greatly. But these gigantic plot holes are ridiculous. People don't go to sleep when they're enraged. "I'm so gonna kill that guy for stealing my girl. I'm tired, I'll kill him later. *sleeps*" This is not logical. Worse, the entire play hinges on the characters falling asleep at random moments for no reason. And all it would have taken to fix this would be one line from Puck, saying, "Abracadabra go to sleep!"
I desperately want a MSND fanfic where one of them has insomnia. Alternatively, Lysander/Demetrius get together due to the love juice.
Moving on. Helena shows up. She feels tired and sleeps. Hermia shows up. She feels tired and sleeps. Insert another rant here. Puck has a couple of nice lines as he bewitches the lovers to pair up.
I will return to this point later, but for now, just keep in mind that Lysander is no longer under the influence of the love juice and loves Hermia again, while Demetrius is re-juiced to love Helena.
Next up: Act 4. Everything gets sorted out.