The play is set in Athens where Duke Thesus is planning his marriage with Hippolyta, the queen of the Amazons. Their plans are interrupted by an Athenian citizen, Eugeus, who arrives at Theseus's palace with a problem: he wants her daughter Hermia to marry Demetrius, but she is in love with another boy, Lysander. Eugeus asks Thesus a legal judgment for this problem and the Duke agrees that Hermia has to obey to his father and marry Demetrius. Her punishment for disobedience will be death or a life spent in a nunnery. Lysander and Hermia decide to run away and meet by night into the woods near Athens. She tells her close friend Helena, madly in love with Demetrius, about her plan and Helena tells Demetrius hoping that he will forget about Hermia and stay with her, but Demetrius chases after the couple followed by Helena.
Some local workmen want to produce a play to celebrate Thesus’ wedding. They decide to perform the tragedy of Pyramus and Thisbe and agree to meet the next night in the woods to rehearse the play.
In another part of the forest, Oberon and Titania, king and queen of the fairies, are arguing about a child that Titania has stolen. Oberon demands that she give him the boy, but she refuses, so Oberon decides to take his revenge on Titania putting a special juice on her eyes while she’s asleep. The magical juice will make her fall in love with the first thing she sees when she wakes up. Oberon, seeing Demetrius reject Helena, tells his servant Puck to put the potion on Demetrius’ eyes also. But Puck mistakes Lysander for Demetrius, and Lysander, seeing Helena falls in love with her and leaves Hermia alone.
Oberon realizes the mistake and puts the juice also on Demetrius’ eyes who also falls in love with Helena.
The rustics begin to practice their play very close to where Titania is sleeping. Puck decides to play a trick on them and gives Bottom the head of an ass, which everyone can see but Bottom. When Bottom return to his friends they run away frightened and Titania wakes up. Under the spell of the juice, she immediatly falls in love with Bottom and takes him with her.
Oberon is furious with Puck for his mistake and orders to put things rights with the four lovers. Puck puts an antidote on Lysander’s eyes so that he resumes his love for Hermia.
Oberon finds Titania and releases her from the spell having received the boy from her. Puck removes the ass’s head from Bottom.
Thesus and Hippolita arrive in the forest for a hunting party and find the sleeping lovers. The lovers explain why they are in the woods, at which point Theseus decides they shall be married as they wish, despite Egeus’ will.
Bottom wakes up and thinks that he has dreamed the entire episode. He returns to Athens where he meets his friends and go to Theseus's palace for the wedding. Theseus chooses their play to be represented and Bottom and the rest of his company perform the play, after which everyone retires to bed.
After they leave Puck and the fairies come out of the shadows and he tells that if anyone disliked the play, they should imagine that it was only a dream.