A Midsummer Night’s Dream Essay.

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Shakespearean Theatre is the name given to the first public theatres built in London during William Shakespeare’s life. The stages’ range from being square, circular and hexagonal tiered with breathtaking galleries. The stages seem to be the most important attire of a typical Shakespearean play as a lot of detail would be put into them. Take for instance, if a tragedy like Hamlet was being played then it was usually expected to have the stage draped in black to fit the mood. The stages would occupy roughly about half of the floor space, leaving the other half for the spectators viewing the stage from three different angles.


A Midsummer Night’s Dream is a gentle comedy, which tells several stories each one occurring during a single summer night in a magical forest. Here the stage could be imagined to be well decorated with lots of glitter and pretty colours. It is a tale that does not seem to concentrate on themes as well as it does with its ideas. This essay will try to focus on the two important characters Hermia and Helena and try to analyse through their language and behaviour to come up with their similarities and differences of one another.


Helena is a young woman of Athens who is in love with Demetrius in an almost pathetic and desperate way by proclaiming “use me but as your spaniel, spurn me, strike me, Neglect me,”(Act Sc. 1), to him. Throughout the play she is shown as a lovesick young woman. Although she has this unrequited love, she is passionate and witty. She does not seem to be strong headed as her loyalties seem to wander in the play. Through her weakness of her love to Demetrius, she betrays her good friend Helena by telling him of the elopement that Hermia and Lysander have planned together. This was acted upon in order to win back Demetrius’ love, (Act 1 Sc.1.)


Although she is tall and blonde, the verbal abuse that she receives from Demetrius gives her very low self-esteem as she loses confidence in her looks. In Act sc she cannot believe that any man would love her and when both Demetrius and Lysander say that they do, she thinks that they are joking with her and this makes her mad. She is extremely unsure of herself, worrying about her appearance and believing that Lysander is mocking her when he declares his love for her.


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When she finds herself in several awkward positions throughout the play, she always carries herself with certain grace and maturity. She understands the notion of love very well. This may be because out of all the characters, her character thinks most about the nature of love. This is shown at the beginning of the play where Helena is being left out of the love triangle involving Lysander, Hermia and Demetrius. She says, “love looks not with the eyes, but with the mind,” (Act 1 Sc. ). While bearing in mind that Demetrius has high expectations of Hermia’s beauty which is preventing him to see and recognise her beauty. Therefore, here through her language it is evident that she is showing maturity near the end of the play.


Hermia is Egeus’s daughter, a young woman of Athens. She is in love with Lysander as she swears “by Cupid’s strongest bow….”(Act1 Sc1)


Through her love, she seems to adopt a strong mind as she plans to elope with her love. She can also be found assertive as in Act1Sc1 as she stands up to her father when he wants her to marry his suitor; “I would my father looked but with my eyes.” Also through her love her loyalties come out true throughout the play to Lysander, as she believes that Demetrius must have killed Lysander when he abandons her; “Ah good Demetrius, wilt thou give him me?” (Act Sc)


Hermia has formed a close friendship with Helena as she comforts her when Helena feels ugly compared to her, “Take comfort. He no more shall see my face…”(Act1 Sc1)


Though she was strong-minded at the start of the play, she becomes increasingly sensitive and violent near the middle of the play. She turns on Demetrius as she cries “Out dog, out cur!” (Act Sc) and also on Helena in Act Scene when she accuse her of being a “canker-blossom..Thief of love”


The similarities between the two characters lie in the fact that they are both in love. They both feel that their love is pure and strong. For example in Act1 Scene1 Helena takes a lot of verbal abuse from Demetrius but that stills doesn’t change her feeling for him, and Hermia shows this similarity as she stands up to her father and elopes.


Another similarity is that they both feel inferior within themselves. Hermia is self-conscious about her height and through her jealousy of Helena near the end of the play, who now has two suitors after her, she thinks that Helena has used her height to win them over. Helena on the other hand is self-conscious earlier on in the play as she thinks she is ugly, especially compared to Hermia, (Act1 Sc1.)


Although they go through a lot of mixed up emotions and face difficult situations, Helena always seemed to be more mature. This contrasts sharply with Hermia’s more childish behaviour. This is evident in Act Scene when Hermia wants to fight and Helena doesn’t. Hermia shows here that she is a more aggressive than Helena.


In Act1 scene1 Hermia clearly shows that she enjoys the control that she has over Helena, however when the roles are switched over to Helena’s advantage, through Puck’s potion, Hermia acts very childishly that contrast with Helena’s earlier attitude.


The differences in love are that Lysander loves Hermia however Helena loves Demetrius but at the start of the play, he does not like her. The other difference between the two characters is that Helena is a tall blonde beauty and Hermia is a short, dark beauty.


Although this essay seems to have brought along quite a lot of differences


between the two


characters, overall it can be concluded that they are in fact nearly identical and interchangeable with one another. Through the help of Puck’s potion, it can be said that they searched for their own identities within one another with and therefore matured through this process and became fully capable to justify themselves in understanding and conquering true love.





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