Character Study - Helena
Can anyone help me with my character study? I've recently been in MND and I have to now write a character study on Helena. Does anyone have any ideas on who she/what shes like etc?
Helena wants sympathy, and so slides easily into her "poor, poor pitiful me" act! The suggestion that she is less than forthright is a good one. She is tall and fair, and throughout the city, thought to be as "fair" as Hermia. She accuses Hermia of being a shrew, and yet it was Helena who provoked her. Do we believe her when she claims that Demetrius and Lysander are mocking her? Maybe she really loves the attentions of both men!
I saw one interesting production of MND in which in the early scenes, Helena was made up to look distinctly plain, if not downright homely. But after the night in the forest, she reappeared as radiant. The director's intent was to show the transformation she undergoes within, making her a dynamic character, instead of a self-pitying whiner.
The other thing to realize is that there isn't much to separate any of the four lovers in this play. They are all fairly equal to each other. The only major difference between Helena and Hermia is the fact that both men want Hermia. Helena wonders why she is so inferior to Hermia, but most of that is in her mind. All four of these lovers aren't much different from average high school seniors!
First I want to direct you to the great e-notes page below which analyzes Helena's character. And now a few more ideas: Helena is sweet, but rather cunning. She is often confused, frustrated, seemingly at her wits end, but she also comes up with clever little plots, like telling Demitrius that Hermia and Lysander have gone into the woods so that she can follow him out there and be on a more level playing field with him. You might call her a hopeless romantic... I would certainly call her hopeless! Good luck!