A Midsummer Night's Dream

Making Magic

In Act 2 Scene 1, Oberon sends Puck to collect contents for a potion to make characters fall in love. Consider the words of Oberon (Act 2, Scene 1, lines 155–75):


That very time I saw, but thou couldst not,
Flying between the cold moon and the earth,
Cupid all arm’d: a certain aim he took
At a fair vestal throned by the west,
And loosed his love-shaft smartly from his bow,
As it should pierce a hundred thousand hearts;
But I might see young Cupid’s fiery shaft
Quench’d in the chaste beams of the watery moon,
And the imperial vot’ress passed on,
In maiden meditation, fancy-free.
Yet mark’d I where the bolt of Cupid fell:
It fell upon a little western flower,
Before milk-white, now purple with love’s wound,
And maidens call it Love-in-idleness.
Fetch me that flower; the herb I shew’d thee once:
The juice of it on sleeping eye-lids laid
Will make or man or woman madly dote
Upon the next live creature that it sees.
Fetch me this herb; and be thou here again
Ere the leviathan can swim a league.

Act 2, Scene 1


Answer the following questions.

  • Oberon refers to Cupid. Who is Cupid and why would Oberon refer to him?
  • Oberon uses the word ‘fiery.’ Why? What does fire suggest and what effect does it have?
  • What is a leviathan? What do you think Oberon means by the final line?


Illustrate this scene as a comic strip.

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