HELENA SPEECH (‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’) “Love looks not with the eyes, but with the mind, And therefore is winged Cupid painted blind. ” This quote is said by Helena during Act 1, Scene 1, Lines 234 – 235. What Helena means is that, Love is an affection which occurs with the mind and not with eyes. Looks aren’t everything, Love happens when 2 souls attract to each other. Therefore Love is said to be blind. Helena is a tall, fair, sweet-hearted person. Despite her lovely characteristics she is still left unloved.
Demetrius, who previously was in love with Helena, abandoned her after meeting Hermia – Helena’s childhood friend. Hermia is small, has dark hair with a dark complexion. Helena is presented as a more beautiful & gentle person than Hermia, yet Hermia is loved by both Lysander & Demetrius. Helena displays a strong determination for Demetrius’ love. She informs Demetrius of Lysander & Hermia’s plan to elope into the woods, after Hermia’s father did not approve of their marriage.
Helena may be considered as a fool but a passionate lover as she still persists, although Demetrius doesn’t love her. In Act 1, Scene 1, Lines 227 – 228, Demetrius says: “I’ll run from thee, and hide me in the brakes, And leave thee to mercy of wildbeasts. ” He also says in Act 1, Scene 1, Lines 199 – 201, “Do I entice you? Do I speak you fair? Or rather do I in plainest truth tell you I do not, nor cannot love you? ” Demetrius clearly illustrates to Helena that he has no interest in her, But Helena persists.
In Act 1, Scene 1, Lines 202 – 204, Helena says: “And even for that do I love you the more. I am your spaniel; and, Demetrius, The more you beat me, I will fawn on you. ” Helena’s persistence is the key aspect that causes the problems between the lovers. Oberon, the King of the fairies, shows some benevolence in wanting to make Demetrius love the suffering Helena. So he uses the power of the magic juice and asks Puck to anoint the juice, from the flower, onto the eyelids of young Demetrius. This magical juice causes a person to fall in love with the irst thing he or she sees upon waking. But to Puck’s mistake he puts the magic juice on the eyes of Lysander. This causes Lysander to fall in love with Helena. Soon after, Puck partially fixes up his mistake and puts the juice on Demetrius’ eyes. This results in both men falling in love with Helena & fighting for the love of Helena. But Helena, who was loved by no one before, believes that Lysander & Demetrius are mocking her. Hermia, who is then left loveless, becomes jealous of Helena and the 2 friends nearly attack each other.
All these problems are the consequences from the sympathy felt towards the loveless, yet persistent Helena. Soon after, the magic juice was used on Lysander and so he loved Hermia again. In Act 1/Scene1/Lines 238 – 239 Helena says: “Love is said to be a child Because in choice he is so oft beguiled”. This line clearly reflects on the problems of love throughout the play and in the real world. Love is seen as a child, as in its choice it is so often tricked. The juice from the magic flower is used on both Demetrius and Lysander and causes the love cycle to go back and forth.
In the real world lovers can also be tricked easily and can result in heart-breaking consequences. Helena, who got rejected, never gave up and displayed great persistence towards her love. Although Helena’s strong determination resulted in many problems between the lovers, her love was true and she won Demetrius’ heart, even if it was because of the magical flower “Love in Idleness”. Helena is a main character in the play whose actions and attitudes definitely resulted in significant consequences for her and the lovers. Faisal Khan