The king of the fairies Oberon and his queen Titania have quarrelled. They have parted from each other, but live in the same wood near Athens. Two pairs of lovers enter the same wood: Helena, who loves Demetrius, Demetrius, who loves Hermia, Hermia, who loves Lysander and Lysander, who in turn loves Helena. Oberon takes pity on the lovers and – following much additional confusion – allows his servant Puck to restore the balance with the aid of his magic potion.
Around the same time, the marriage of Theseus and Hippoloyta is planned to be celebrated at the Athenian court. The labourer Bottom comes to the wood with some of his friends to rehearse a play for the wedding celebration. Puck frightens away the labourers. Oberon however uses the simple Bottom to play a joke on his wife. He puts drops of a love potion on Titania’s eyelids while she sleeps so that when she wakes, the fairy queen will see Bottom attired with an ass’s head as a god of love.
Ultimately, Oberon undoes all magic spells and entanglements with the aid of his lily staff. The wedding of Theseus is celebrated, the labourers perform their play, Demetrius and Helena and Hermia and Lysander are united and Oberon himself also settles his quarrel with Titania.