Puck - Also known as Robin Goodfellow, Puck is Oberon’s jester, a mischievous fairy who delights in
playing pranks on mortals. Though A Midsummer Night’s Dream divides its action between several
groups of characters, Puck is the closest thing the play has to a protagonist. His enchanting, mischievous
spirit pervades the atmosphere, and his antics are responsible for many of the complications that propel
the other main plots: he mistakes the young Athenians, applying the love potion to Lysander instead of
Demetrius, thereby causing chaos within the group of young lovers; he also transforms Bottom’s head
into that of an ass.
Oberon - The king of the fairies, Oberon is initially at odds with his wife, Titania, because she refuses to
relinquish control of a young Indian prince whom he wants for a knight. Oberon’s desire for revenge on
Titania leads him to send Puck to obtain the love-potion flower that creates so much of the play’s
confusion and farce.
Titania - The beautiful queen of the fairies, Titania resists the attempts of her husband, Oberon, to
make a knight of the young Indian prince that she has been given. Titania’s brief, potion-induced love for
Nick Bottom, whose head Puck has transformed into that of an ass, yields the play’s foremost example
of the contrast motif.
Lysander - A young man of Athens, in love with Hermia. Lysander’s relationship with Hermia invokes
the theme of love’s difficulty: he cannot marry her openly because Egeus, her father, wishes her to wed
Demetrius; when Lysander and Hermia run away into the forest, Lysander becomes the victim of
misapplied magic and wakes up in love with Helena.
Demetrius - A young man of Athens, initially in love with Hermia and ultimately in love with Helena.
Demetrius’s obstinate pursuit of Hermia throws love out of balance among the quartet of Athenian
youths and precludes a symmetrical two-couple arrangement.
Hermia - Egeus’s daughter, a young woman of Athens. Hermia is in love with Lysander and is a
childhood friend of Helena. As a result of the fairies’ mischief with Oberon’s love potion, both Lysander
and Demetrius suddenly fall in love with Helena. Self-conscious about her short stature, Hermia suspects
that Helena has wooed the men with her height. By morning, however, Puck has sorted matters out
with the love potion, and Lysander’s love for Hermia is restored.
Helena - A young woman of Athens, in love with Demetrius. Demetrius and Helena were once
betrothed, but when Demetrius met Helena’s friend Hermia, he fell in love with her and