The great and powerful Theseus is the Duke of Athens and is madly in love with Hippolyta. The Duke is authority driven, and gives the play some sense of order when he is seen. He only appears at the beginning and the end of Midsummer, ironically missing out on the parts of the play that are magically driven.
Like Theseus, Hippolyta represents order in the play. She is the legendary Queen of the Amazons, and engaged to the Duke, Theseus.
Egeus is Hermia's father, who abruptly brings his daughter to court. Hermia is in love with Lysander, and instead of marrying Demetrius, like her father insists, she wants to marry Lysander. Egeus reinforces that she either follow his wishes and marry Demetrius, join a nunnery and be married to God, or be executed.
Hermia is the beautiful, young Athenian girl that woe's both male protagonists in the play. As Egeus' daughter, she is subjected to marrying Demetrius instead of the love of her life, Lysander. She argues that Lysander is just as worthy of wedlock as Demetrius, so she asks Theseus what will happen if she is to refuse her fathers orders. She is given two choices: death, or a life long sentence in a nunnery. Hermia is also childhood friends with Helena.
Helena's problem is seen right at the start of the play. She is in love with Demetrius, which is a shame because Demetrius is in love and about to be married to Hermia, Helena's childhood friend. Helena's confidence is ultimately crushed because of this, and comes across as almost obsessed in an attempt to snatch up Demetrius for herself. We are also told that Helena (let's just say) isn't blessed with looks, like Hermia.
This young man of Athens is desperately in love with Hermia. The love they share enables them both to runaway from Hermia's father, and furthermore, elope in secret. It is Lysander that awakens after sleeping next to Hermia in the forest and becomes in love with Helena, thanks to Puck and the magic flower that permits true love in the victim's eyes.
Demetrius is the other significant young man in this story. We first see his character in love with Hermia, whom he has permission to marry thanks to Egeus (Hermia's father). But after magic fills the air, it is Demetrius that ends up falling for Helena. This puts a lot less strain on the "love triangles" that were happening beforehand and allows a two couple arrangement, where, ultimately, everyone lives happily ever after.
Puck is the humour of the play, and rightly so. He is Oberon's jester, a mischievous character who often enjoys pulling pranks on mortals and the other magical creatures in the play. Because of the countless characters in the production that play important roles, it is Puck that is as close to the protagonist as your going to get. It is his actions that drive the plot along, as his mannerisms and pranks create the atmosphere that audience members are looking for.
Pucks character mistakes the two Athenian men in the first place, which, overall, creates what the play needs to spring into action. He is also the character that laughably transforms Bottom's head into that of an ass. His intentions are purely for comedic effect.
Oberon is the King of the fairies. His wife (Titania) and him are initially fighting with each other about a small Indian boy. His desire to ‘teach Titania a lesson' leads him in sending Puck out into the forest to obtain a love-making flower that creates confusion and farce in the play from all angles. Like other power-driven characters, Oberon is also in control of the events around him.
Titania is the beautiful Queen of the fairies. The fighting with her husband, Oberon, over a small Indian boy, allows Oberon to trick Titania into falling in love with Bottom, whose head is that of a donkey's. Her brief, potion induced love for Bottom, allows Oberon to teach her a lesson, so that when she awakens again, she, again, falls in love with Oberon thinking it was all a dream.
This overly confident character has so much confidence that he is readily seen making silly mistakes all the time. Bottom is, among other characters, a player for the marriage celebration of Theseus and his wife, Hippolyta. When Puck transforms his head into a donkey's head, he is none the wiser, thinking that the beautiful Titania's sudden love for him was just because of his ‘charismatic self confidence'. This just goes to show that his arrogance is his major fault.
Philostrate is the Duke's Master of the Revels. His responsibility falls under making sure there is entertainment for the marriage between Theseus and Hippolyta.
The Six Players
With Bottom too, Quince, Flute, Snug, Snug, and Starveling are all characters that together are trying to produce a play for the marriage celebration between Theseus and Hippolyta. There attempts of practising are of course interrupted in some ways by the events of the forest between the love triangles of Lysander, Demetrius, Helena and Hermia. Titania also distracts Bottom in an attempt to fall in love with him. All players have been chosen to be the best of the best in the city. Some are seen as melodramatic and very keen for the spotlight. Others are more nervous than anything else! We see what these characters have come up with at the end of the play when the celebration finally arrives!
There are fairies and other magical characters sprinkled through the play. As the Athenians enter the forest we are captured by Titania and Oberon's fairyland, full of magical creatures who tend to the King and Queen. We also see such characters as Cobweb, Mustardseed and Moth, who all tend to Titania when she attempts to woo Bottom after she falls in love with him.