Our journey begins at home with an arguing father and daughter...

Order in the Court!

A Midsummer Night's Dream begins in Duke Theseus's court in Ancient Athens. In many ways, this court is symbolic of our childhood homes—a place where order is enforced by parents, whose job it is to look out for our well-being. Each person's childhood home informs his or her worldview. It is in the court that we learn an idea of order that shapes our adult lives.

However, our idea of order is very different from that of Ancient Athens or Shakespeare's Elizabethan ideals.

Classroom
Activities

Use these exercises to explore the struggle between order and disorder—a central theme of A Midsummer Night’s Dream.

Marrying for Love?

Contains brief mature content

“Be it so she will not here before your grace

Consent to marry with Demetrius,
I beg the ancient privilege of Athens:
As she is mine, I may dispose of her.”

–Egeus (Hermia's Father)

Think About your Home’s power dynamics:

Shakespeare's Court

Born in 1564, William Shakespeare grew up in Stratford-upon-Avon. His mother was the daughter of a landowner; his father was a glove-maker and held public office. William attended grammar school from about 7 to 13, when he was forced to leave because of family issues. This basic education was the only schooling William ever received. His name would not appear on record again until he was 18 and married Anne Hathaway.

 

Little is known of Shakespeare’s early years, leaving us to speculate what his “court” was like and how it influenced his plays.

Shakespeare's bio

Copyright Alley Theatre Education & Community Engagement 2015.