The end of "A Midsummer Night's Dream" suggests that the entire story was, in fact, a dream. However, since this is stated by Puck, I have doubts as to whether his word can be trusted. This story has been around for a while, so surely there has been some kind of answer reached regarding this question. It is strange that such a celebrated playwright would leave a gaping loose end like this, so it is also entirely possible that I am missing something :)

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    I couldn't not create the tag "Shakespeare". So glad scifi is expanding to classical literature!
    – MPelletier
    Nov 28 '12 at 3:39

"If we shadows have offended, think but this and all is mended" - Puck seems to be offering the audience the choice of chalking it all up to a dream, if they want to. It also harkens back to how within the play itself many of the participants decide that the strange things they encountered were all a dream.

I also seem to remember something from high school English about how the ambiguity of whether it was a dream or not was potentially to protect Shakespeare ("now to 'scape the serpent's tongue") in case it did actually offend anyone important, or maybe critics, but it's been a while since high school, so I may be way off base on that.

In any case, I believe the question of whether it was all a dream was intentionally left without a solid answer.

  • I was initially going to dismiss the question as a joke, but your thoughtful answer has caused me to reconsider! +1 Nov 28 '12 at 17:39
  • For what it's worth, I have exactly the same vague recollection from high school English class, about Shakespeare adding that speech at the end to protect himself.
    – Martha
    Nov 28 '12 at 23:05

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