Monday, September 10, 2012
Throughout A Midsummer Night's Dream, the character of Helena seems to be developed as the one Athenian who truly values the importance of love, perhaps because in the beginning of the play she is sadly lacking the reciprocation of her love for Demetrius. In Act III, when Lysander is put under the spell of the potion and seemingly falls in love with her, Helena can not help but allow her insecurities to come to the surface and feel as though Lysander is mocking her. Helena's hurt only worsens when Demetrius wakes, and under the same spell, immediately professes his love for her. It is clear that Helena places the importance of love above all else when witnessing the dynamic between Helena and Hermia after Helena believes that Hermia is part of Demetrius and Lysander's scheme to mock her. Helena's understanding of the necessity for love and her own personal experiences with the nature of love cause her to feel the sting of the betrayal of those she loves more harshly.
"We, Hermia, like two artificial gods,
Have with our needles created both one flower,
Both on one sampler, sitting on one cushion,
Both warbling of one song, both in one key,
As if our hands, our sides, voices and minds,
Had been incorporate" (3.2.206-211)
Helena has felt, up until this point, that her bond with Hermia was unbreakable, and her self-esteem is so low that she immediately concludes that Hermia is betraying her. There is a certain degree of sympathy felt towards Helena when she is constantly rejected by her true love Demetrius and then is further hurt by her 'sister' Hermia. Helena feels so passionately on topics of love that she is blind to reason and logic, that is grossly absent in the play as a whole due to the interference of the fairy population.
Hermia is however, a bit of a hypocrite when she so quickly jumps to the conclusion that Hermia is mocking her and easily forgets how easily she was willing to betray Hermia and Lysander by telling Demetrius where they hid. In Helena's pursuit of the ultimate love, she easily gets lost in her own desires and desperation because of the fact that she sees plainly how vital natural love is because of her experience living without it.