Act 1, Scene 1

Bertalan Szegi

Theseus and Hermia are arguing.


So will I grow, so live, so die, my lord,
Ere I will my virgin patent up
Unto his lordship, whose unwished yoke
My soul consents not to give sovereignty.


Take time to pause; and, by the next new moon–
The sealing-day betwixt my love and me,
For everlasting bond of fellowship–
Upon that day either prepare to die
For disobedience to your father’s will,
Or else to wed Demetrius, as he would;
Or on Diana’s altar to protest
For aye austerity and single life.

William Shakespeare, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Act 1, Scene 1.

                                                        He exits.

                                                  Enter Hermia’s mother.   

Hey my dear. Its been a long time since I saw you. How are your things going? Hey, what’s the problem? I see you are sad.

Oh, you know I’m in love with Lysander, but my father wants me to marry Demetrius. Recently Theseus told me that if I withstand my father I have two choices; the first one is lifelong chastity as a nun worshipping the goddess Artemis; and the second one is death. I just want to love Lysander; you know that I don’t want to marry Demetrius, but I don’t wanna die or go into lifelong chastity. I don’t know… maybe I will run away with Lysander.

Chill, my dear. Sit down and let me tell you a story about your father and me. It will be such a disappointing story, so please sit down and listen carefully. Preferably please don’t inerrupt me, because I don’t want to leave anything out of the story.

Oh Mom, I have become curious!

Our story begins two years before you born. Me and your father were twenty years old when we met at a theatrical performance. It was love at first sight. We talked a lot and had a lot of fun together. A bit later my father told me that I should marry Maximus, the son of a rich gentleman. I told my parents that I wanted to be Egeus’s wife. They were disappointed and asked me why. I told them the truth, I told them that I love Egeus and I don’t want to marry Maximus because he is ugly. I told them that Maximus could be the richest person in the world, I couldn’t love him my whole life. After this conversation they gave me the same choices as Theseus gave you recently: lifelong chastity or death. I told them that I’d rather die than marry Maximus. My mother started to cry, and my father tried to comfort her. He told me to change my way of thinking by the next week. I didn’t want to wait till the next week, so I went to Egeus and we figured out a plan. We were to meet at the border of our town and escape from the city at night and live a worryless life together. Our plan was perfect. No one guessed what we were planning. We successfully reached the border of our town and started to walk towards the forest. We were on the road for three days when our food and water supply ran out, so we started to search after some food. Its took us seven days to find another town where we could settle down, but unfortunately we didn’t have enough money to buy a house so both of us worked hard to earn a lot of money to buy a place where we could live. It took us almost one year to escape and settle down, and when there were no problems in our lives, our parents found us. They were mad and tried to bring us back to our town. We told them that if they brought us back, somehow, we would run away again and they couldn’t stop us. We told them that they didn’t need to worry about us because we had a house and a good income so we could live a worryless life. Our parents had a two-hour-long conversation, and finally they agreed with us. That’s how we escaped with our love, and that’s how we settled down in a different town.

Oh my god Mom…

So don’t worry, my dear, I will talk about this with your father. He will understand your problem, and he will let you be with your love.

Thanks, Mom, I don’t know how can I thank you.

You do not need to thank me for such a thing.

                                                             They exit.