Demetrius A Midsummer Night's Dream


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Learn more about Demetrius, a man who seems to fall out of love as quickly as he falls in love. Many other students have had to do the same analysis on Demetrius and A Midsummer Night's Dream. See how they tackled this complex character and his compelling traits.

Demetrius A Midsummer Night's Dream

Demetrius


One of the four young lovers who gets caught up in fairy magic, Demetrius is an Athenian man who's engaged to Hermia... who, for her part, doesn't want anything to do with him. In the play, he's dosed with Oberon's magic love juice and falls madly in love with Helena, whom he eventually marries.

Demetrius isn't exactly a well-developed or complex character, but we can learn a lot about the play's attitude toward love by thinking about his actions and behavior. When we meet Demetrius, he's busy insisting that Hermia should be legally forced to marry him, even though Hermia isn't in love with him. Demetrius's reasoning? He made a deal with her dad, Egeus, so it's his "right" (1.1). (How sensitive.)

Then we find out that Demetrius once romanced Helena, but ditched her so that he could get engaged to Hermia (1.1). This tells us that Demetrius, like a lot of people (and Shakespearean characters), is seriously fickle. The fact that he has already fallen in and out of love with one girl as he pursues a new love interest also tells us that Oberon's magic love juice isn't the only thing that makes lovers behave unpredictably.

Demetrius is also pretty abusive and insensitive to Helena when she refuses to give up on him. Here's how he handles her: First, he tells her flat-out that he doesn't love her and never will be able to love her (2.1). Then, he informs her that she makes him sick when he looks at her (2.1). He also insists that's she's acting like a real floozy by chasing him around (2.1). Demetrius also implies that he hopes she gets eaten by some "wild beasts" (2.1.235) and threatens to do her some "mischief" (seriously hurt her) if she doesn't scram ASAP (2.1). Then our charming boy dashes off and leaves Helena all alone in the wood, presumably to be eaten by said "wild beasts."

Demetrius's plotline reminds us that love can be cruel and that we should try to avoid falling for the Demetriuses of the world. Think of it this way: Uncle Shakespeare is basically taking you aside and saying something like "Listen up kid. This is the real world, so you don't exactly have a crew of love juice-wielding fairies to watch your back and make sure the girl/guy of your dreams returns your love."

To be fair, we could argue that Helena is acting like a total stalker. If this was the real world, we might encourage Demetrius to take out a restraining order. In the play, though, Demetrius's behavior is bad enough to enrage Oberon, who makes it his personal mission to see Demetrius treat Helena with a lot more respect.

Demetrius A Midsummer Night's Dream

Demetrius A Midsummer Night's Dream

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A Midsummer Night’s Dream character, Demetrius



The Underpinning of Demetrius Thesis: A Midsummer Night’s Dream character, Demetrius is very difficult to identify except by his relation to the one he loves, or, more particularly, to the one who loves him. Helena’s ridiculous chasing after him and his irritation with her are the primary marks of his character. While in this uncharmed state, he even begins to threaten Helena with bodily harm, coming off as not quite the gracious courtly lover he truly means to be. It’s simple to discover his unchivalrous character by how easily his eye was distracted from Helena by Hermia in the beginning.

He could be a gentle, loving man if he truly desired, but he takes satisfaction being put in his place by others. In the end, still under the spell of fairy magic and therefore not seeing with true eyes, he seems a bit imbecilic laughing at the acted “lovers” in the play. He doesn’t realize it, but he is in a play of his own. Likewise, as with the other characters, what happens to 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 only has two lines throughout the entire first act, it shows that he can’t stand up for himself, likewise, this lack of speech displays his lack of self-confidence and image: Relent, sweet Hermia, and, Lysander, yield Thy crazed title to my certain 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 going against his privilege. B. Demetrius takes advantage of his stature by claiming Hermia as a right, which truly portrays his instability, but, at the same time shows that in true he loves Hermia.

It is absolutely obvious that he is well supported by Egeus: Scornful Lysander, true, he hath my love; And what is mine my love shall render him. And she is mine, and all my right of her I do estate unto Demetrius. (Egeus, 1. 1. 97-100) He depends on Egeus to display his affection and Egeus concludes by actually enforcing Demetrius’ love upon her. C. Initially in love with Hermia, he uses rudeness to ward off Helena’s “spaniel” affection, being very ruthless towards the feelings of Helena: I’ll run from thee 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 her dear emotions. D. It always seems that he is usually taking advantage of the situations he is in, like when he tries to pursue Hermia due to Lysander’s absence, but uses harsh words: I had rather give his [Lysander] carcass to my hounds .
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 I [so. ] See me no more, whether he be dead or no. Hermia, 3. 2. 81-83) Demetrius displays his awful characteristics with such demoralizing words and complete disrespect 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 his unwanted love, Hermia automatically suspects him for murdering Lysander: It cannot be but thou hast murdered him. So should a murderer look, so dead, so grim. (Hermia, 3. 2. 58-59) F.

Helena is so true to Demetrius, but he denounces her to a point of no return, threatening to rape her: You do impeach your modesty too much To leave the city and commit yourself Into the hands of one that loves you not, To trust the opportunity of night And the ill counsel of a desert place With the rich worth of your virginity. (Demetrius, 2. 1. 221-226) This is such a tremendous insult and Helena accepts by “Your [Demetrius] virtue is my privilege. ” II. The Analogous, Yet Similar: Lysander and Demetrius A. Demetrius and Lysander are somewhat alike, lacking in individuality, virtually indistinguishable. B. Demetrius only seems to love the external beauty of the women and doesn’t recognize the inner-beauty with true feelings. As opposed to from Lysander’s luring manner, which is based on internal 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?
The course of true love never did run smooth. (Lysander, 1. 1. 130-136) On the contrary, Demetrius is only sensitive to physical affection: An if I could, what should I get therefor? Demetrius, 3. 2. 80) He is only concerned with what he can receive (SEX) from the pitiful relationship. C. These statements have also altered due to the circumstances of the characters. When Lysander and Hermia are in the woods alone, all he can think about is getting Hermia to come to bed with him. It is not as compulsive as desperate Demetrius, but he gets put back in his place: Lysander: So that but one heart we can make of it; Two bosoms interchained with an oath– So then two bosoms and a single troth.

Then by your side no bed-room me deny, For lying so, Hermia, I do not lie. Hermia: But, gentle friend, for love and courtesy, Lie further off in human modesty. Such separation, as may well be said, Becomes a virtuous bachelor and a maid. So far be distant; and good night, sweet friend. Thy love ne’re alter till thy sweet life end! (2. 2. 51-66) Demetrius, even though under the influence of fairy magic, displays that he can be poetic and romantic, with a bit of a stretch: … O, how ripe in show Thy lips, those kissing cherries, tempting grow!
That pure congealed white, high Taurus’ snow, Fanned with the eastern wind, turns to a crow When thou hold’st up the hand… (Demetrius, 3. 2. 142-146) D. Hollindale explains Demetrius’ unique characteristics, “Demetrius, in accepting the pattern of audible rhythmic completions, is participating with Helena in this quarrel. (2. 2. 90-93). This shows that he enjoys fighting with women and is somewhat flattered by their attraction to him! ” E. In Demetrius’ only in Act one, he refers to his claims to the public nature of Athenian citizenship.

He points out the political stature of his being that constitutes Hermia as his. Lysander’s affection, on the contrary, is a more purified, emotional one with true feelings flourishing. III. Demetrius’ Personality and Emotions (Not Under the Fairy Magic Flower) A. When Helena and Demetrius appear in the wood for the second time, their brief dialogue is a diminutive display of imploring and rejecting, meeting and parting, opening and closing of physical space. These lines reflect the movement of action: Helena: Stay, though thou kill me, sweet Demetrius. Demetrius: I charge thee, hence, and do not haunt me thus.
Helena: O, wilt thou darkling leave me? Do not so. Demetrius: Stay, on thy peril. I alone will go. (2. 2. 90-93) B. Demetrius couldn’t possibly love Helena while in his quest for Hermia. He results to severely degrading her, portraying his callous side: I love thee not; therefore pursue thee not . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Hence, get thee gone, and follow me no more… Tell you I do not, [nor] I cannot love you? (Demetrius, 2. 1. 195-208) C. Demetrius is a less poetic and romantic figure which is based on his (doggish) perception of women, violent and unchivalrous.

D. A rude colloquial dismissiveness towards unwanted comes more naturally to Demetrius. When he shakes off Helena, he portrays a “terse and charmless candour”(Mcleish): Do I entice you? Do I speak you fair? Or rather do I not in plainest truth . . . . . . . . . . . . Tempt not too much the hatred of my spirit, For I am sick when I do look on thee. (Demetrius, 2. 1. 206-219) E. Shown through Demetrius’ hostile passages toward Helena are: typical lovers’ speeches, where apparently thin, formal and declamatory verbal gestures which contain more than they seem to. Loutro) F. After Hermia had completely shut him out of her life, Demetrius actually felt some true, real emotion. He sees no reason to pursue Hermia any further while she is in such a state, and he decides to fall asleep, hoping this will lighten the effect of the sorrow: So sorrow’s heaviness doth heavier grow For debt that bankrout [sleep] doth sorrow owe, Which now in some slight measure it will pay, If for his tender here I make some stay. (Demetrius, 3. 2. 81-89) G. ” ‘Pyramus and Thisbe’ evokes to tears of laughter rather than sorrow in the lovers (false) eyes.
Lyricism and comedy distance, the passionate quarrels between Demetrius and Lysander, Hermia and Helena. It alludes to the tragic possibilities of a conflict between love and opposition”(Belsey). Demetrius, like all the others, is mocking the play by the rude mechanicals: It is the wittiest parition that ever I heard discourse, my lord . . . . . . . . . . . . No remedy, my lord, when walls are so williful to hear without warning. (Demetrius, 5. 1) IV. Demetrius’ Altered Personality and Emotions (Under the Spell of the Flower) Sensitivity A.

The love juice has done it’s work, and its work is utterly to abolish the conscious interval between one romantic loyalty and another. Demetrius change of love is marked by exaggerated articulary the moment his eyes open: O Helen, goddess, nymph, perfect, divine! To what, my love, shall I compare thine eyne? (Demetrius, 3. 2. 140-141) B. He affection toward Hermia had all but withered and he cared nothing for her anymore and replies to Lysander: Lysander, keep thy Hermia. I will none. If e’er I loved her, all that love is gone.
My heart to her but as guest-wise sojourned, And now to Helen is it home returned, There to remain. (Demetrius, 3. 2. 172-176) C. Demetrius immediately becomes extremely violent toward Lysander: I say I love thee more than he can do. (Demetrius, 3. 2. 261) This is so ridiculous due to the fact that everything has shifted from Hermia to Helena: If thou say so withdraw and prove it too. (Lysander, 3. 2. 262) D. Even though he begins to notice that everything has totally altered with his relations, he goes with his instinct and heart(! : But like sickness did I loathe this food, But, as in health, come to my natural taste Now I do wish it, love it, long for it. And will forevermore be true to it. (Demetrius, 4. 1. 180-185) E. Demetrius, even though he seems so hopeless and deceitful, actually really yearned for the love of Hermia in the beginning, but just wasn’t stand enough to be her mate. Conclusion: Muir explains this with excellent views: It seems that his [Demetrius] personality (mood) is based on what he wants and to whom he needs to manipulate to attain the love he desires and perseveres for.

The themes of waking and dreaming, reality and illusion, reason and imagination, change and transformation are all experienced by Demetrius to a great extent, especially with his lovers and enemies. His vile, yet sensitive personality really kept the reader examining what he could change into next, which the seem as if they were more than just a single character. Demetrius, as a character, is essential to the play, for a backbone and plot.

Demetrius A Midsummer Night's Dream

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