第一幕: Theseus is planning to wed Hippolyta. Egeus brings Hermia in and asks the Duke to use the law against his daughter because she disobeys her father by choosing Lysander instead of Demetrius for marriage. The Duke orders Hermia to obey her father. She and Lysander plan to escape to a wood outside of Athens. Meeting Helena, she tells her their plan. Helena decides to inform Demetrius of the plan. Meanwhile, a company of artisans (Quince, Bottom, etc.) are planning to present “The Most Lamentable Comedy and Most Cruel Death of Pyramus and Thisby” for the Duke’s wedding.
III. The Story:
第二幕: Oberon and Titania quarrel over an Indian boy. Oberon asks Puck to find a magic flower and anoint Titania’s eyes with its juice. Demetrius comes to the wood, pursued by Helena. Seeing Demetrius’ lack of love for Helena, Oberon orders Puck to use the magic on him, too. Lysander and Hermia come in and rest for the night. Puck misapplies the juice on Lysander’s eyes. Helena comes to awaken him, and he loves her immediately, deserting Hermia.
第三幕: The artisans are rehearing their play. Puck comes, gives Bottom an ass’s head, and frightens the men away. Titania wakes up and falls in love with Bottom. Oberon finds that Puck has used the flower on the wrong Athenian and wants Puck to redress it. Demetrius is then charmed with the juice. Now, the situation is: Both Lysander and Demetrius are asking Helena for love, and it causes a bicker between the two girls. Finally, Puck lures the young men away to set everything right.
第四幕: Oberon gets the Indian boy, releases Titania from the charm, and restores Bottom to his normal state. Theseus and others enter the wood for a hunt. They find the four loves sleeping there. Learning their true hearts, Theseus decrees that the two couples shall be married company with himself and Hippolyta. Bottom awakens and believes he has had a dream.
第五幕: The three pairs of lovers are married. Theseus asks Bottom and others to perform the interlude. The rustics enact “Pyramus and Thisby” and make a bungle of it quite comically. It provides an amusing finale to an evening of delight.