A Midsummer Night's Dream by William Shakespeare. Some people find it hard to like or sympathize with Helena in this play. What are your feelings towards her and why?

Essay by lady_luckB, April 2008

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I do not say 'like Helena but I do sympathize with her. She wallows in self-pity all day, not doing much to improve the situation, hut instead making it worse. When Hermia greets her in act one scene one 'God speed, fair Helena! Whither away?' she is convinced that she is not beautiful as Demetrius loves her not, instead she wishes to catch Hermia's beauty like a disease so that she could attract Dermetrius attention. When Hermia told her of the plans to elope away with Lysander, she actually planned to tell Demetrius so that she could spend some time with him in the woods and might he able to win him back, but failed miserably. She betrayed her friend's trust, harboring the hope that she might he able to make Demetrius fall in love with her again in the expense of her childhood fiend's future, not thinking of more practical way to win hack Demetrius' heart.

She is also too desperate for Demetrius' love, asking him to 'Use me but as your spaniel - spurn me, strike me. Neglect me, lose Me; only to give me leave, Unworthy as am, to follow you'.

Yet, admire her faithfulness and sympathize her for that. No matter how much Demetrius chides her, she responded with a gentle heart, not complaining or showing anger, just hoping Demetrius would let her come with him. She had also loved Demetrius from the start of the play right to the end, even though Demetrius had changed lover so many times and seemed fickle-hearted. She is a gentle lady, following the stereotypical role and duty of women and it meant a lot to her. This can be seen when she chides hernia for mocking at her, asking if Hernia had any maiden values. But she is willing to forgo all this just to woo Demetrius, yet reminding him that 'You do me mischief. Fie, Demetrius! Your wrongs do set a scandal on my sex. We cannot fight for love, as men may do; We should be wooed, and were not nude to woo'.

Helena has little self-confidence, when Demetrius and Lysander fought for her love, she was convinced that the two men were mocking at her insufficiency and thought Hernia had ganged up with her admirers to tease her, she did not believe that she could actually win the heart of anyone because she is 'as ugly as bear, For beasts that meet me run away for fear.' She also did not think that she could win back the love of Demetrius if Hermia went away, instead she content herself with accompanying Demetrius to the forest since she believed that being by his side is already good enough for her and it is a rare chance for her to get close to Demetrius.

Blibiography: www.sparksnotes.com