A Midsummer Night's Dream

Back to List of Characters


Philostrate is a fascinating character in William Shakespeare's play, A Midsummer Night's Dream. Although he may not have a leading role like the mischievous Puck or the lovestruck Helena, Philostrate plays an essential part in the overall narrative of the play. He serves as Theseus' Master of the Revels, responsible for organizing and overseeing the entertainment for the upcoming wedding of Theseus and Hippolyta.

In the play, Philostrate's role highlights the extravagant and festive nature of the Athenian court. As the Master of the Revels, he is tasked with ensuring that the wedding celebrations are grand and enjoyable for all the guests. His presence adds a touch of merriment and excitement to the atmosphere, setting the stage for the whimsical events that unfold in the enchanted forest.

Philostrate's Interaction with the Mechanicals

One of the most memorable moments involving Philostrate is his interaction with the group of amateur actors known as the Mechanicals. The Mechanicals, led by the bumbling but well-intentioned Bottom, are preparing a play to be performed at Theseus and Hippolyta's wedding. Philostrate's initial skepticism towards the Mechanicals' abilities showcases his practical and discerning nature.

However, as the play progresses, Philostrate's attitude towards the Mechanicals evolves. He becomes more intrigued by their earnestness and determination, ultimately finding amusement in their comical antics. This change in perspective demonstrates Philostrate's appreciation for the genuine efforts of others, even if they may not possess the same level of skill or talent as professionals.

Philostrate's role as the Master of the Revels also serves as a contrast to the magical and fantastical elements of the play. While characters like Oberon and Titania wield powers that shape the events of the story, Philostrate represents the more grounded and practical side of human existence. His presence acts as a reminder that amidst the enchantment and chaos, there are still mundane responsibilities that need to be fulfilled.

In conclusion, Philostrate may not be the most prominent character in A Midsummer Night's Dream," but his role as the Master of the Revels adds depth and complexity to the overall narrative. His interactions with the Mechanicals and his pragmatic approach to his duties provide a balance to the whimsical and magical elements of the play. Philostrate reminds us that even in a world of fairies and love potions, there is still a need for order and organization.