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Egeus, a nobleman, enters the stage accompanied by his daughter Hermia, the man she loves named Lysander, and the man Egeus wants her to marry named Demetrius. He begs Theseus for the ancient Athenian right to either make his daughter marry Demetrius or have the power to kill her.
Theseus offers Hermia only two options: she must marry Demetrius or join a nunnery. He then departs with the other men, leaving Hermia and Lysander behind on stage. Lysander quickly convinces Hermia to sneak into the woods the next night so that they may get married at his aunt's house outside of Athens. She agrees to the plan.