Act 3 Scene 2
Oberon is wondering if Titania has woken up yet and what the first thing she saw might have been. Puck then arrives and tells him ‘My mistress with a monster is in love’ and explains what he did to Bottom and how Titania is now behaving. Oberon is pleased, saying ‘this falls out better than I could devise.’
Hermia arrives, with Demetrius. She clearly thinks Demetrius has harmed Lysander, or even killed him, but Demetrius declares ‘I am not guilty of Lysander’s blood’. Hermia is frustrated and runs away to continue her search and Demetrius says ‘there is no following her in this fierce vein’, before lying down to sleep. Watching on, Oberon recognizes Demetrius as the Athenian he told Puck to give the potion to and he realises a mistake must have been made, saying to Puck ‘What hast thu done? Thou hast mistaken quite and laid the love juice on some true love’s sight’.
Oberon orders Puck to find Helena and bring her back to where Demetrius is now sleeping and says he will put potion in Demetrius’ eyes. Puck leaves, saying ‘I go, I go, look how I go, / Swifter than arrow from the Tartar’s bow’. Oberon then adds the juice from the flower to Demetrius’ eyes before Puck quickly reappears, with Helena and Lysander not far behind. Puck seems excited to see ‘their fond pageant’, exclaiming ‘Lord, what fools these mortals be!’
Helena and Lysander then wake Demetrius, who sees Helena and declares ‘O Helen, goddess, nymph, perfect, divine!’ Helena thinks the two man are making fun of her and using her for their ‘merriment’ and reminds them both that they ‘both are rivals and love Hermia’. The two men then argue over who has the right to love Helena, each telling the other to have Hermia instead.
When Hermia arrives to find Lysander and Demetrius arguing she is confused asking ‘what love could press Lysander from my side?’ Helena then becomes angry with Hermia as well, thinking her friend must be part ‘of this confed’racy!’ and that they ‘have conjoined all three’. Hermia and Helena then start to fight, both thinking the other one is to blame, with Hermia declaring ‘I am not yet so low / But that my nails can reach unto thine eyes.’ Lysander and Demetrius do everything they can to protect Helena during the fighting, before leaving ‘cheek by jowl’ to fight elsewhere. When they have gone, Helena runs away and is chased by Hermia.
Oberon confronts Puck, asking whether he did all of this deliberately but Puck promises he just made a mistake, because both men were wearing ‘Athenian garments’ and he had no way to tell that Lysander was not Demetrius. To put it all right, Oberon tells Puck to ‘overcast the night’ and then give Lysander the antidote, which Puck does.