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Theme Of Love In A Midsummer Night's Dream

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In this extract of A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Shakespeare vividly portrays Demetrius and Helena’s contrasting feelings towards each other through the use of language and tone. Helena follows Demetrius into the woods in spite of him blatantly telling her that he doesn’t love her and this makes him angry and frustrated. However Helena still perseveres and begs for his love, highlighting the theme of the irrational nature of love.
Shakespeare vividly portrays Demetrius’ feelings of anger and aggression towards Helena through his insults and his use of language and tone. He ignores the fact that he had loved her once before and abuses her both morally and physically. He rejects her by saying “I love thee not, therefore pursue me not”. Demetrius is quite blunt when making his thoughts clear to Helena. He is insensitive to her feelings when he says “For I am sick when I do look at thee” to insult her and to make her feel unattractive. He even threatens her by saying that he will “leave thee to the mercy of wild beasts” which shows that he is apathetic to her wellbeing. Clearly, he wants nothing to do with her and will do anything to make her leave. He abuses her morally by saying that she could lose her respect being alone in the woods and threatened to rape her “To trust the opportunity of night and the ill counsel of a desert place with the rich worth of your virginity”. The use of the emotive word “virginity” is very sacred to women which makes him think that she would leave if he threatened to make her lose it. His language and actions are unpleasant and aggressive. He has rude tone when he uses imperatives “Get thee gone” and also uses an arrogant tone when asking her rhetorical questions “do I speak you fair?” His harsh and ruthl...

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...ively conveys her feelings of vulnerability at this point. The audience sympathises with her because she seems very helpless and lonely yet she is still trying her best to achieve Demetrius’ love. She is suffering from unrequited love and also Demetrius’ abuse and threats but she continues to pursue him. Even though Demetrius despises her, she continues to persevere which foreshadows the end when she succeeds and he loves her. Love has the power to make people act irrationally.
By the end of the extract Helena and Demetrius’ strong opposing feelings towards each other is evident through Demetrius’ blatant rejections and insults and Helena’s persevering attitude to win his heart. This is also achieved by language features like metaphors, listing and imperatives. The audience learn that love cannot be achieved easily and that it can also be very irrational and fickle.
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