A Midsummer Night’s Dream ends with Puck’s epilogue, however it is missing a prologue.
Consider another of Shakespeare’s plays about love, Romeo and Juliet. Examine the opening prologue (below) and explain to students what it means, in reference to the entire plot of this tragedy.
Two households, both alike in dignity,
In fair Verona, where we lay our scene,
From ancient grudge break to new mutiny,
Where civil blood makes civil hands unclean.
From forth the fatal loins of these two foes
A pair of star-cross’d lovers take their life;
Whose misadventured piteous overthrows
Do with their death bury their parents’ strife.
The fearful passage of their death-mark’d love,
And the continuance of their parents’ rage,
Which, but their children’s end, nought could remove,
Is now the two hours’ traffic of our stage;
The which if you with patient ears attend,
What here shall miss, our toil shall strive to mend.
Romeo and Juliet, Prologue.
Using the Romeo and Juliet prologue as a model, in small groups (or independently) students create their own prologue for A Midsummer Night’s Dream.
If working in groups, extend the task by asking students to perform what they have written.