In A Midsummer Night's Dream, how do the relationships between Hermia & Lysander and Helena & Demetrius change?
Act 3, scene 2.
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The riotous confusion of the Athenian lovers continues in this scene, as Oberon and Puck realise that Puck has made a mistake and has annointed the wrong Athenian youth. We see that Lysander is now desperately in love with Helena, having abandoned his betrothed, Hermia, and we, like Hermia, are bewildered and suspicious of the change in the affections of the apparently steadfast Lysander as he protests his love to Hermia:
Why should you think that I should woo in scorn?
Of course, this situation is further complicated when Demetrius wakes up, having been anointed by Puck, and sees Hermia. Again, he, like Lysander, has a complete change of character in terms of who he loves:
O Helen, goddess, nymph, perfect, divine,
To what my love, shall I compare thine eyne?
This situation seems to escalate as Hermia enters, still trusting in the steadfastness of Lysander's affections, and her resulting horror, rage and anger against Helena who she holds responsible for taking Lysander away from her.
Of course, what is important to note is how Shakespeare is using the events of this play. He is making a comment about love and how fickle our emotions often are, but what is so masterful about what he does is that by making us as the audience laugh at such events, we pronounce our own judgement on ourselves for the irrational acts and words we utter when we are under the spell of love.
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