How Shakespeare Presents Helena

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In ‘A Midsummer’s Night Dream’ Helena is presented as an extremely lovesick and broken girl. To present Helena, Shakespeare uses carefully crafted language and a range of techniques such as metaphors, similes and hyperboles. The audience’s reaction to Helena changes throughout the play, for example, at different points in the play, we feel sympathetic towards her. At the beginning of the play Helena is heartbroken and extremely upset due to Demetrius’s hate towards her. We know this as she says “Call you me fair? That fair again unsay. / Demetrius loves your fair: O happy fair!” When she questions her own beauty using a rhetorical question it shows that she is baffled at why Demetrius had left her. When she uses the word fair over and over again it tells us that she had been obsessing over Hermia’s beauty. Her obsession with Hermia’s beauty is shown once again as later on in the passage as she says ‘Sickness is catching. O, were favour so, /yours would I catch fair Hermia, ere I go; /My ear should catch your voice, my eye your eye.’ In this metaphor she wishes that she could simply catch Hermia’s beauty like a sickness. Helena is clearly longing for something to make her like Hermia in hope that Demetrius would see some of Hermia in her. She is also jealous of Hermia’s beauty. It also shows us that she is insecure about her own appearance. The audience would’ve felt sorry towards her at this point as she is clearly devastated about Demetrius. A bit more into the play Helena expresses her confusion and betrayal towards Demetrius. “For ere Demetrius looked on Hermia’s eyne, / He hail’d down oaths that he was only mine./ And when this hail some heat from Hermia felt,/ So he dissolv’d, and showers of oaths did melt.”In this metaphor Helena is saying that Demetrius had made so many promises to her like balls of ice (hail stones) but when Hermia came along he made broke them causing Demetrius’s promises to have melted. We feel sympathetic towards Hermia as Demetrius...
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