YMMV / A Midsummer Night's Dream

  • Author's Saving Throw: Played with in the epilogue, which coyly "apologizes" to anyone who didn't like the play. This was more or less formula for the period, and shows again in The Tempest, among other places.
  • Crowning Music of Awesome: Both Felix Mendelssohn and Carl Orff wrote epic soundtracks for the play. Mendelsson`s version taking a romantic tone, while Orff was concentrating on the bizarreness of the turns the plot takes.
  • Crowning Moment of Heartwarming: The way the 1999 film adaptation portrays the scene where Theseus overrules Egeus's requests and proclaims that Hermia can marry Lysander if she wants to. Through the entire movie, Hippolyta has been distant from Theseus, strongly implying that she's not as stoked to marry him as he is to marry her. It's also hinted that she feels sympathy to Hermia for being forced to marry someone she doesn't love. Before making the proclamation, Theseus takes Hippolyta aside and confers with her, before giving Hermia the right to choose her own husband. At this point, Hippolyta warms up to Theseus, seeing that he not only would let the lovers be together, but asked for her input on the matter.
  • Designated Hero: Oberon in his subplot with Titania. Titania (rightfully) calls him out for diseases run rampant, seasons dangerously alter and all of humanity suffers from their discord - which as a powerful being he should NOT have done and he retaliates by playing a cruel trick with the explicit intent to humiliate her. The fact that she is to modern audience an incredible Badass (has her own army) and compassionate woman (adopting a child from her handmaiden who is a different species) and that Oberon is a complete Karma Houdini doesn't help painting him in the best light.
  • Ensemble Darkhorse: Bottom and Puck.
  • Esoteric Happy Ending: The pairing of the human couples when you realize that the only reason Demetrius is with Helena is not because he has genuinely fallen in love with her, but because he has been affected by a Love Potion.
    • Some productions do hint that Demetrius really loved Helena the entire time, and the potion just reawakened those feelings. This is consistent with Lysander's statement in the first scene that Demetrius was wooing Helena before he inexplicably switched to Hermia. And then other productions imply that Demetrius wooed Helena just long enough to take her virginity and then immediately kicked her to the curb, making this a case of Laser-Guided Karma with a smidgen of Rape Portrayed as Redemption on Demetrius's part if you want to be macabre about it.
    • The last we see of Titania and Oberon, they are going off for a happy ending, apparently having reconciled. This becomes much less sweet when one recalls that they only ended up this way after Oberon had his wife brainwashed into loving (and, implicitly, sleeping with) a human with a donkey's head and taking advantage of this condition to get her to give him a child she was looking after (something she was very against when in her right mind), only freeing her of the Love Potion because he pitied her and got what he wanted. And while the play does end with Titania asking how she ended up next to the donkey-headed Bottom like that, nothing suggests that Oberon doesn't get away with everything he did to her.
    • And of course, if you're familiar with classic mythology, you already know that Theseus and Hippolyta's wedding won't end well.
  • Fridge Horror: It's a little unsettling to think that Demetrius goes the rest of his life never realizing that his "love" for Helena is just a fairy charm.
  • Ho Yay:
    • Between Oberon and his 'gentle Puck'.
    • In the 2013 Globe production, when Oberon learns that Puck's ensured that Titania has fallen in love with the donkey-headed Bottom, he swings across the stage, snatches Puck up, dips him so low his legs are off the ground, and kisses him full on the lips. It lasts about half a minute.
      • Puck, for his part, is positively swooning during this exchange.
    • In the same production, Titania displays much physical affection to her mostly female entourage. However, the effect is diminished as the servant fairies are crosscast rather than gender flipped.
    • Helena's jealousy towards Hermia leads her to languish over her rival's beauties in a way that toes the line between envy and desire. Hermia telling Helena where she and Lysander will meet could easily come across as an invitation, given the romantic language she employs.
    Hermia: And in the wood where often you and I upon faint primrose beds were wont to lie, emptying our bosoms of their counsel sweet, there my Lysander and myself shall meet.
    • The BBC 2016 version even adds another side to the love dodecahedron, with briefly Demetrius falling for Lysander.
      • This version also switches up some lines, making it so Titania and Hippolyta are in love. They even share a good, long kiss at the end.
  • MST3K Mantra: Puck's final soliloquy: "If the story offended you, remind yourself it was nothing but a dream."
  • Values Dissonance:
    • After the potion makes Lysander hate Hermia, he wards off her advances by saying she looks like an "Ethiope." African women were considered horribly ugly at the time in Europe.
    • In Elizabethan times, a man who took a woman's virginity was expected to marry her. Notably this happened to Shakespeare himself, who got married six months before his wife gave birth. Hence, Demetrius returning to Helena, despite being under a brainwashing potion and unable to consent, would've been seen as the properly moral ending.