A Midsummer Night's Dream is perhaps the best loved of Shakepeare's
plays. It brings together aristocrats, workers, and fairies in a
wood outside Athens, and from there the enchantment begins. Simple
and engaging on the surface, it is none the less a highly original
and sophisticated work, remarkable for both its literary and its
theatrical mastery. It is one of the very few of Shakespeare's
plays which do not draw on narrative sources, which suggests that
it reflects his deepest imaginative concerns to an unusual degree.
In his introduction Peter Holland pays particular attention to
dreams and dreamers, and to Shakespeare's construction of a world
of night and shadows. Both here and in his commentary he explores
the play's extensive performance history to illustrate the wide
range of interpretations of which it is capable.