Oberon’s famous speech from A Midsummer Night’s Dream, describing in flowery detail his wicked plans. Dancing, spritely music that exposes Oberon’s delight in the nasty trick he is about to play on Titania.
Oberon’s speech to Puck from A MIDSUMMER NIGHT’S DREAM shows him at a moment where he is particularly angry with Titania, and has decided to play a terrible trick on her. He expects to enjoy this trick very much, a lot more than he should. He tells Puck, who has just found the magic flower for him, where he will find Titania and cast the spell, a beautiful spot where she often sleeps. The flowers that are mentioned all have specific associations. Wild thyme is thought of as a favorite of the fairies. Oxlips are associated with sleep, and musk-roses are Titania’s favorite flower.
The music traces Oberon’s delight in the trick he is about to play in the dance-like rhythms, but also his deepening anger as the harmonies get darker and more harsh as he imagines Titania in the throes of his spell.
from A MIDSUMMER NIGHT’S DREAM
OBERON (to Puck)
Hast thou the flower there? …
I pray thee, give it me.
I know a bank where the wild thyme blows,
Where oxlips and the nodding violet grows,
Quite over-canopied with luscious woodbine,
With sweet musk-roses and with eglantine:
There sleeps Titania sometime of the night,
Lull’d in these flowers with dances and delight;
And there the snake throws her enamell’d skin,
Weed wide enough to wrap a fairy in:
And with the juice of this I’ll streak her eyes,
And make her full of hateful fantasies…
—from A MIDSUMMER NIGHT’S DREAM, Act 2 Scene 1
by William Shakespeare