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A forest near Athens, one Midsummer Eve.
Oberon , king of the Fairies, and Titania, his queen, quarrel over the child they both want. Oberon orders Puck to bring the flower pierced by Cupid’s arrow (which causes anyone coming under its influence to fall in love with the first person the eyes behold) and, while Titania is asleep and unknowing, he casts the flower’s spell over her. Meanwhile, Helena , wandering in the woods, meets Demetrius, whom she loves but who does not love her. Demetrius rejects her and goes his way. Oberon watches and tells Puck to use the flower on Demetrius, that he may return Helena’s affection.