Demetrius (A Midsummer Night's Dream)

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Demetrius is one of the iconic lovers in William Shakespeare's play A Midsummer Night's Dream. He is a young Athenian who is engaged to another young Athenian, Hermia. He claims to love her, but really appears this way to gain Duke Theseus' and Egeus' support (in one interpretation). However, Hermia does not love Demetrius, but instead she loves a man called Lysander. Demetrius follows Hermia and Lysander into the woods once they have fled Athens, whilst Helena follows him. Helena craves Demetrius' love but he doesn't return her love and instead finds her annoying and a nuisance as she tries to win his heart. Eventually Demetrius falls in love with Helena due to Oberon and Puck putting the love juice on his eyes. The storyline is complex and shows the difficulties of true love through comedy.

Role in A Midsummer Night's Dream[edit]

After Hermia has confided in Helena regarding her plans to elope with Lysander, Helena reveals the plan to Demetrius, in the hopes of procuring Demetrius's trust. However, Demetrius merely goes to the forest seeking Hermia, without giving Helena a second thought. After that he returns to the king.

Helena follows Demetrius, and Oberon, the fairy king, sees them arguing. Oberon feels pity on Helena and decides to help her by putting love juice on Demetrius's eyes, thereby compelling Demetrius to return Helena's love. Oberon instructs Puck, another fairy, to pour love juice on the eyelids of the "Athenian man"

However, Puck sees Lysander sleeping, and pours the love juice in Lysander's eyes instead, thus causing Lysander to fall in love with Helena (and abandon Hermia), while Demetrius's love for Hermia continues unaltered. Later, Puck pours the love juice in Demetrius's eyes as well, with the result of both Demetrius and Lysander falling in love with Helena and despising Hermia. They fight over Helena, until Puck lulls them to sleep, and then Puck reverses the spell upon Lysander so that Lysander will love Hermia again. The spell on Demetrius, however, is not removed, and the play ends with Demetrius very much in love with Helena.

Interpretation[edit]

Thus the love plot is balanced, with Lysander and Hermia forming one couple, and Demetrius and Helena forming another couple.

Demetrius has to marry Hermia, while Hermia wants to marry Lysander. When Puck corrects his mistake and Demetrius then falls for Helena, it is because of the love potion. But somewhere deep down Demetrius truly loves Helena.

Demetrius watched the tale of Pyramus and Thisbe performed by the six craftsmen on Duke Theseus and the Duchess's wedding day at night, alongside Helena, Lysander and Hermia. Demetrius and the other four lovers share a wedding with Theseus and his soon-to-be wife.

Portrayals[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Wood Love" (1925). IMDB. Retrieved 13 December 2013.
  2. ^ "A Midsummer Night's Dream" (1935). IMDB. Retrieved 13 December 2013.
  3. ^ "A Midsummer Night's Dream" (1968). IMDB. Retrieved 13 December 2013.
  4. ^ "A Midsummer Night's Dream" (1981). IMDB. Retrieved 13 December 2013.
  5. ^ "A Midsummer Night's Dream" (1996). IMDB. Retrieved 13 December 2013.
  6. ^ "A Midsummer Night's Dream" (1999). IMDB. Retrieved 13 December 2013.
  7. ^ "A Midsummer Night's Dream" (1999). IMDB. Retrieved 13 December 2013.
  8. ^ "A Midsummer Night's Rave" (2002). IMDB. Retrieved 13 December 2013.