Act 3 Scene 2 of William Shakespeare’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream”
The play “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” written by William Shakespeare, is full of many wonderful and humorous scenes and themes throughout the play including ideas like real vs. fake love, gender power, and real vs. imaginary life. Act 3 in this play definitely has a lot going on. Act 3 is very chaotic and confusing. Puck the fairy has just mistakenly applied the love potion to the fairy queen Titania, Demetrius, Lysander, Helena, and Hermia while they are asleep, but when they wake up they lie their eyes on the wrong lover. After the love potion is applied, Demetrius and Lysander are both in love with Helena, leaving Hermia distraught and upset. Queen Titania wakes up and falls in love with Bottom, a commoner whose head has been turned into a donkey’s head thanks to Puck and King Oberon’s tricks.
Act 3 scene 2, lines 192-219 includes a monologue from Helena who is greatly upset thinking that everyone is making fun of her. Helena quotes on page 49, line 194-195, “…To fashion this false sport in spite of me. Injurious Hermia, most ungrateful maid…”. In these lines, Helena is mad at Hermia, thinking she is making fun of her. Helena usues the word “spite”, meaning she thinks Herrmia is purposefully desiring to hurt Helena, when really the love potion and Puck are at fault. Helena also acquires the word “injurious”, meaning insulting, thinking Hermia is deliberately insulting her. Helena also compares Hermia to an “ungrateful maid”, thinking that Hermia has been an ungrateful, untrue friend to her. Hermia goes on with her rant on page 49, line 197, ”…To bait me with foul derision?”. Helena uses imagery in this line especially using the word bait, providing the image to the audience of how she thinks Helena is luring her in (like bait) to the joke of how both Lysander and Demetrius are both in love with her. This line is also a metaphor since Hermia is comparing herself to Helena’s “bait”.
On page 50, Helena continues with her monologue. In line 203, Helena says, “We, Hermia, like two artificial gods…”. She uses a simile in this line using the word like to compare her and Helena’s friendship to “artificial gods”, saying that Hermia is insincere to Helena and not a true friend. On page 50, lines 204-206, Helena repeats the word “one” several times throughout these lines to use imagery and emphasize to the audience how her and Hermia have always been like “one song”, “one flower” etc., and such close friends, and she just can’t believe Hermia would ever hurt her. In lines 208-209, Helena expresses how her and Hermia “…grew together, Like to a double cherry, seeming parted…” Helena uses imagery on these lines providing the audience with the image of how close her and Hermia grew up together and were always so close, like a double cherry. In lines 215-219, Helena portray how upset and hurt she is that Hermia would choose to side with the men over her. Line 216, Hermia questions, “…To join with men scorning your poor friend?” Helena is in complete disbelief with Hermia’s actions, or so she thinks.
Throughout all of Helena’s monologue, she is emphasizing how close her and Hermia’s friendship is or was, and how hurt she is that Hermia would betray her, make fun of her, and choose to side with the men after everything they have been through. This whole scene is very comical considering both Lysander and Demetrius are under the love potion and actually are in love with Helena because of Puck’s love potion.
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