A Midsummer Night’s Dream character, Demetrius is very difficult to identifyexcept by his relation to the one he loves, or, more particularly, to the onewho loves him.
Helena’s ridiculous chasing after him and his irritation with herare the primary marks of his character. While in this uncharmed state, he evenbegins to threaten Helena with bodily harm, coming off as not quite the graciouscourtly lover he truly means to be. It’s simple to discover his unchivalrouscharacter by how easily his eye was distracted from Helena by Hermia in thebeginning. He could be a gentle, loving man if he truly desired, but he takessatisfaction being put in his place by others. In the end, still under the spellof fairy magic and therefore not seeing with true eyes, he seems a bit imbeciliclaughing at the acted “lovers” in the play. He doesn’t realize it, buthe is in a play of his own. Likewise, as with the other characters, what happensto him is far more interesting than the sort of character he is.
I.Demetrius’unwelcome deceit and shrewdness and what is discovered A. Since Demetrius onlyhas two lines throughout the entire first act, it shows that he can’t stand upfor himself, likewise, this lack of speech displays his lack of self-confidenceand image: Relent, sweet Hermia, and, Lysander, yield Thy crazed title to mycertain right.
(Demetrius, 1.1.93-94) Demetrius believes that since he has Egeus’approval, that Hermia should relinquish to him and states that Lysander is goingagainst his privilege. B. Demetrius takes advantage of his stature by claimingHermia as a right, which truly portrays his instability, but, at the same timeshows that in true he loves Hermia. It is absolutely obvious that he is wellsupported by Egeus: Scornful Lysander, true, he hath my love; And what is minemy love shall render him. And she is mine, and all my right of her I do estateunto Demetrius.
(Egeus, 1.1.97-100) He depends on Egeus to display his affectionand Egeus concludes by actually enforcing Demetrius’ love upon her. C. Initiallyin love with Hermia, he uses rudeness to ward off Helena’s “spaniel”affection, being very ruthless towards the feelings of Helena: I’ll run fromthee and hide me in the brakes And leave thee to the mercy of wild beasts.
(Demetrius,2.1.234-235) He cares nothing even for her life and just absolutely crushing herdear emotions.
D. It always seems that he is usually taking advantage of thesituations he is in, like when he tries to pursue Hermia due to Lysander’sabsence, but uses harsh words: I had rather give his Lysander carcass to myhounds . . . . .
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. . An if I could, what should Iget therefor? (Demetrius,3.2.66,80) A privilege never to see me more. And from thy hated presence part Iso.
See me no more, whether he be dead or no. (Hermia, 3.2.81-83) Demetriusdisplays his awful characteristics with such demoralizing words and completedisrespect for Lysander. He will desire any hopes of attaining her affection.
She scorns him after hearing these words, never wanting him to see her again. E.Since Demetrius had indeed made some convincing threats of violence against hisunwanted love, Hermia automatically suspects him for murdering Lysander: Itcannot be but thou hast murdered him. So should a murderer look, so dead, sogrim. (Hermia, 3.2.
58-59) F. Helena is so true to Demetrius, but he denouncesher to a point of no return, threatening to rape her: You do impeach yourmodesty too much To leave the city and commit yourself Into the hands of onethat loves you not, To trust the opportunity of night And the ill counsel of adesert place With the rich worth of your virginity. (Demetrius, 2.1.221-226)This is such a tremendous insult and Helena accepts by “Your Demetriusvirtue is my privilege.” II. The Analogous, Yet Similar: Lysander andDemetrius A.
Demetrius and Lysander are somewhat alike, lacking inindividuality, virtually indistinguishable. B. Demetrius only seems to love theexternal beauty of the women and doesn’t recognize the inner-beauty with truefeelings. As opposed to from Lysander’s luring manner, which is based oninternal emotions and tries his best to express with passionate words: How now,my love? Why is your cheek so pale? How chance the roses there do fade so fast?. . . .
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. . . . The course