A Midsummer Night's Dream is perhaps the best loved of Shakespeare's plays. It brings together aristocrats, workers, and fairies in a wood outside Athens, and from there the magic begins. A young woman flees Athens with her lover, only to be pursued by her would-be husband and by her best friend. Unwittingly, all four find themselves in an enchanted forest where fairies and sprites soon take an interest in human affairs, dispensing magical love potions and casting mischievous spells. In this dazzling comedy, confusion ends in harmony, as love is transformed, misplaced, and – ultimately – restored.
Illustrated throughout by Sir John Gilbert (1817–1897), famous for his depictions of historical scenes. As well as Shakespeare, he illustrated works of Sir Walter Scott, Cervantes, Wilkie Collins and Wordsworth. (hb)