Talk about a soap opera. The on again off again loves of two pairs of Athenian youth and the upcoming marriage of the King keeps this rolling along. There are fairies and lots of other interesting characters. Keeps you laughing.
From the Publisher
Shakespeare's intertwined love polygons begin to get complicated from the start--Demetrius and Lysander both want Hermia but she only has eyes for Lysander. Bad news is, Hermia's father wants Demetrius for a son-in-law. On the outside is Helena, whose unreturned love burns hot for Demetrius. Hermia and Lysander plan to flee from the city under cover of darkness but are pursued by an enraged Demetrius (who is himself pursued by an enraptured Helena). In the forest, unbeknownst to the mortals, Oberon and Titania (King and Queen of the faeries) are having a spat over a servant boy. The plot twists up when Oberon's head mischief-maker, Puck, runs loose with a flower which causes people to fall in love with the first thing they see upon waking. Throw in a group of labourers preparing a play for the Duke's wedding (one of whom is given a donkey's head and Titania for a lover by Puck) and the complications become fantastically funny.
This is a hardcover, illustrated edition of A Midsummer Night's Dream, with illustrations done by Kevin Maddison and an afterward by Beatrice Phillpotts. Here's what the book cover says about the illustrations and afterword.
...Kevin Maddison's superb watercolor paintings for this beautiful edition of Shakespeare's fantasy tale are lineal descendants of the classic illustrations of Arthur Rackham and other Shakespearean illustrators. Maddison reveals the miniature hidden places of the fairy kingdom, "where oxlips and the nodding violet grows; quite overcanopied with luscious woodbine, with sweet musk-roses and with eglantine.' Within this very English 'wood near Athens,' besotted Titania, enchanted Bottom, and prankish Puck conduct fairy revelries, and Helena and Demetrius, Hermia and Lysander fall in and out of love. But Maddison captures, as the Victorian Rackham never did, the sensual energy of sixteenth century England, the pleasure-loving, light-hearted, and pagan spirit of the play itself. His ram-horned Oberon is the Celtic cousin of Pan, and the bumpkins, Quince, Snug, Snout and Starveling, the heirs of the half-human, hairy-skinned nature spirits of British folk tradition.
Beatrice Phillpotts, the expert on Victorian 'fairy painting' has written an afterword exploring the history of Shakespearean illustration and including examples of the works she discusses.