Shakespeare/Midsummer Night's Dream term paper 12514

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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.

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