Faust and Mephistopheles watch the amateurish play, staged in the mountains, which presents the wedding of the king and queen of fairies, Oberon and Titania. During the wedding, insects and frogs play in an orchestra and a pageant of characters enters, each one commenting on the devilish event.
This scene, the title of which alludes to Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, is in large part a satire of Goethe’s contemporaries. It serves as a transition from Walpurgis Night back into the action of the drama.
A young witch, for example, flaunts her healthy nudity. A weathervane praises the delightfulness of the gathering but says it will go on down to hell itself if the ground opens to swallow the wedding guests. Satiric verses announce Satan to be their father. One character, a dogmatist, concludes that the Devil must exist, since he is seeing devils. Another, a supernaturalist, infers from the existence of all these devils the existence of good spirits too. A skeptic says that Doubt is the Devil’s companion and so he, the skeptic, is right where he belongs. The orchestra winds down, clouds and mist grow brighter, and the pageant vanishes.
The play is a sensual pageant, full of lustful devil-worshipping and high-flown nonsense. The dogmatist and the supernaturalist, for example, both make unsound arguments in proving the existence of the devil and good spirits, respectively. This is part of Goethe’s broader critique on reason: people often try to turn their feelings and prejudices into subtle arguments, when it would be more intellectually honest to have faith in the feeling itself.