How do we write a character analysis of Hermia with relation to her defiance of her father in Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream ?

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Tamara K. H. | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Educator Emeritus

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When writing a character analysis, it is important to consider certain aspects of his/her character, such as whether or not his/her actions are wise or not, what motivates the character, and what the consequences are of the character's actions.

For example, we know that the predominant motive for Hermia's actions is that she feel persecuted by her father in being forced to marry Demetrius without any rational cause. In fact, we learn in the first scene that Lysander is just as honorable a man as Demetrius. Lysander points out that he is just as high in social status as Demetrius and just as wealthy, if not wealthier, as we see in his lines:

I am, my lord, as well derived as he,
As well possess'd; my love is more than his;
My fortunes every way as fairly rank'd,
If not with vantage. (I.i.101-104)

Moreover, not only is Lysander just as worthy as Demetrius, it is also pointed out that Demetrius may not be entirely trustworthy. Lysander points out that before Demetrius began pursuing Hermia, he was pursuing Helena who is now in love with him. Later, we even learn that Demetrius was actually engaged to Helena. Hence, we see that Egeus really has no rational reason for insisting that Hermia marry Demetrius. We see the irrationality of the marriage even further when we learn from Helena that Demetrius is actually even younger than she is, as we see in her line, "O spite! too old to be engag'd to young" (140). Thus, one motive for Hermia's actions is that she justly feels persecuted by her father.

Hence, we are able to characterize Hermia as a young woman who is being persecuted by her father to marry someone against her will and that this persecution serves as the motive for the actions. She is especially feeling persecuted because her father's choice is a very irrational one.


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