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Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream contains a cast of many different types of characters. Perhaps two of the easiest to compare would be Helena and Hermia, the two young women. They are childhood friends, but they are very different. Hermia is described as 'beauteous' and desirable. Both Lysander and Demetrius are in love with her. She is petite and feminine and stubborn enough to refuse her father's choice of Demetrius as a husband. She and Lysander are in love.
Helena is in love with Demetrius even though he dumped her for Hermia. She is tall and anxious, even though she, too, is supposedly "fair." She is jealous of Hermia and lacks confidence in herself. The two women are of equal social status. Much of the humor in the play comes when Oberon's henchman, the fairy Puck, causes both Demetrius and Lysander to fall in love with Helena, where before they had both been in love with Hermia. Helen thinks they are making fun of her, and the two women get into a fight. Helena lacks Hermia's confidence in her own worth and cannot believe either man would love her. Still, things work out in the end as in all good comedies, and the two couples are married, each to the right person.
Another set of characters one can compare are Queen Titania and King Oberon. They both have responsibilities and duties as the rulers of the fairies. Titania's monologue in Act I lets us know how the seasons are all out of order because of their irresponsibility. While Titania has a more serious tone and is determined to figure this out; Oberon is more impish and acts out on jealousy. He is jealous that Titania is displaying all her love for the changeling boy and ignoring him. Titania is somber, and acts out of love for her changeling boy and fairies. Oberon is impish, jealous, and acts out of his love and desire for Titania.
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