|This page contains resources for teaching A Midsummer Night's Dream, one of Shakespeare's most popular plays. Generations of readers have been fascinated by this romantic fantasy. Below you'll find links to resources from Folger Education that include activities, lesson plans, teaching tools, and more.|
Folger Education offers lesson plans on frequently taught plays, as well as lessons on introducing Shakespeare. Try the two plans below, or, for more lesson plans for A Midsummer Night's Dream, visit the Lesson Plans Archive.
"I Will Hear That Play"
In this lesson plan, you'll cover NCTE standards 1, 3, 4, 8, 9, and 11. The lesson works well as a final project on A Midsummer Night's Dream as students consider how sound can influence a scene's meaning.
"Pyramus and Thisbe"
In the lesson plan, you'll cover NCTE standards 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, and 6. Using the tale of lovers Pyramus and Thisbe from Ovid, students develop their own staging of the scene. This also works well as a bridge to other plays, such as Romeo and Juliet.
The Folger edition of A Midsummer Night's Dream includes facing-page notes and illustrations throughout the play; background information on the play, Shakespeare's life, theater, and times; notes on unfamiliar language, or words that meant something different in Shakespeare's day; and a scholarly assessment of the play in light of today's interests and concerns.
Shakespeare Set Free, a groundbreaking curriculum using performance-based teaching strategies, includes a unit on teaching A Midsummer Night's Dream.
Audio and Video Resources
Bill's Buddies, Folger Education's performance troupe, demonstrates performance-based teaching strategies in a series of short videos. Click on the links on the right to watch individual videos.
Click here to go to the Folger Shakespeare Library's YouTube channel, with video resources on introducing performance-based teaching in your classroom.
For many students today, reading Shakespeare's language can be a challenge. Things to pay attention to in A Midsummer Night's Dream:
Some of Shakespeare's words are no longer used. For example, in the opening scenes, you'll find "mewed" (caged), "beteem" (grant, give), and "collied" (coal black). Words whose meanings have changed might be more problematic, such as "blood" used to mean "passion or feelings," and "well possessed" when we might say "wealthy." Both kinds of words are explained in notes in the Folger Editions.
- unfamiliar words or words whose meanings have changed
- unfamiliar word order
Shakespeare uses language to build three dramatic spaces within the play: the classical Athens of Theseus and Hippolyta; the world of the workingmen; and finally, Fairyland ruled by Oberon and Titania. Ask your students to be attentive to how language shifts in each of these worlds.
In A Midsummer Night's Dream Shakespeare often uses sentence structures that separate words that normally appear together, most often the subject and verb. This is often done to create a particular speech rhythm, or emphasize a certain word. Occasionally, words are ommitted to create iambic pentameter lines. Puns and wordplay are infrequently used in A Midsummer Night's Dream.
About the Play
A Midsummer Night's Dream was first printed as a quarto in 1600. In 1619, a slightly edited second quarto appeared. This second quarto was used as the printer's copy for the First Folio text of Shakespeare’s plays, printed in 1623.
To learn more, explore our Discover Shakespeare online resource, including the sections highlighted at right.
From the Collection
A Midsummer Night's Dream Photo Gallery
Living Iambic Pentameter
A Midsummer Night's Dream Crossword Puzzle
A Midsummer Night's Dream Crossword Puzzle Answer Key
Read the Play
Folger Digital Texts:
A Midsummer Night's Dream