Lysander is Hermia's boyfriend and he really wants to get hitched. Since Hermia's dad isn't having it, Lysander runs off with Hermia to elope. In the woods, he's drugged (by mistake) when Puck squeezes love juice in his eyes, causing him to love Helena until Puck finally gives him an antidote.
Lysander is a lot like Romeo, a character Shakespeare conceived around the time he wrote A Midsummer Night's Dream. Although Lysander faces some major obstacles in his pursuit of love, he's a hopeless romantic. The first time we hear about him, we learn that he's won Hermia's heart by giving her pretty knick-knacks and sweets, and has even serenaded her at her window "by moonlight" (1.1). (Hmm. Seems like we have the makings of a balcony scene here, don't you think?) Lysander also happens to be the most poetical of all the lovers:
Ay me! for aught that I could ever read,
Could ever hear by tale or history,
The course of true love never did run smooth. (1.1.134-136)
This is one of the most famous lines of the play, and for good reason. Lysander's declaration pretty much sums up the play's idea that lovers always face difficult hurdles on the path to happiness—whether it's a disapproving parent, rival lover, or some other obstacle. We're also interested in the way Lysander locates his love for Hermia in a long, rich "tradition." For Lysander, love is epic and the stuff of great literature and history. Check out what he says about the nature of love:
Or, if there were a sympathy in choice,
War, death, or sickness did lay siege to it,
Making it momentary as a sound,
Swift as a shadow, short as any dream,
Brief as the lightning in the collied night,
That, in a spleen, unfolds both heaven and earth,
And ere a man hath power to say "Behold!"
The jaws of darkness do devour it up.
So quick bright things come to confusion. (1.1.143-151)
Lysander clearly recognizes that lovers face a million obstacles and can be quickly separated by "war, death, or sickness." Lysander also knows that, even though love can be explosive, like "lightening," it's usually short-lived: "So quick bright things come to confusion." The idea that life and love are transient, by the way, is a major theme in Romeo and Juliet, where Friar Laurence says the following about Romeo's passion: "These violent delights have violent ends" (2.6.9).
Knight in Shining Armor?
When Lysander and Demetrius fight over the same girl (first Hermia, then Helena), Shakespeare pokes fun at tales of chivalric romance, where two knights in shining armor joust to determine who gets the girl. Most literary scholars recognize that Shakespeare borrowed from Chaucer's "The Knight's Tale," where Palamon and Arcite fight in a tournament over Emily, a girl they've both fallen in love with.
This brings us to our next point. After Puck sloshes the magic love juice all over the forest and Lysander and Demetrius go chasing after Helena, it's really hard to tell the difference between the two guys. As much as the lovers like to think that they are unique, Shakespeare basically tells us that all foolish young lovers are alike.Timeline
A Midsummer Nights Dream - Hermia And Helenas Relationship Essay
901 Words4 Pages
Hermia and Helena's relationship has changed greatly after the intervention of Puck with the love potion. Once best friends, they have become each others enemies, and all for the love of Lysander and Demetrius.
Hermia and Helena were best friends when they were at school.
"All school-days' friendship, childhood innocence?"
(Act 3, Scene 2, Line 201, Helena)
They had complete trust in each other, telling each other their deepest secrets.
"Is all the counsel that we two have shared,
The sisters' vows, the hours that we have spent," (Act 3, Scene 2, Lines 198 - 199, Helena)
They worked together on everything they did including sewing and singing.
"Both on one sampler, sitting on one cushion,
Both warbling of…show more content…
"So with two seeming bodies, but one heart,"
(Act 3, Scene 2, Line 212, Helena)
This had lasted all their lives until the intervention of Lysander and Demetrius.
The strong friendship between Helena and Hermia quickly disintegrated when they became involved with the two men. The love potion was meant to help, but Puck's mistake managed to completely reverse the relationship. When both Demetrius and Lysander were under the influence of the "love-in-idleness" flower, Helena believed that both were mocking her.
"You both are rivals and love Hermia
And now both rivals, to mock Helena."
(Act 3, Scene 2, Lines 155 - 156, Helena)
When Hermia seems to take the same attitude, even though she doesn't know what's going on, Helena accuses her of betraying all women by entering into it.
"Our sex, as well as I, may chide you for it,"
(Act 3, Scene 2, Line 218, Helena)
Helena and Hermia quickly enter into a massive argument, accusing each other of stealing their love.
"You thief of love. What, have you come by night
And stolen my love's heart from him?"
(Act 3, Scene 2, Lines 283 - 284, Hermia)
Their childhood friendship is forgotten in an instant, completely torn apart by the two men.
It is not the love potion which has had this effect on the women directly, it is the performance of the two men, arguing over Helena who