A Midsummer Night's Dream by William Shakespeare

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Compare and contrast the characters of Demetrius and Lysander in A Midsummer Night's Dream.

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At first glance, Lysander and Demetrius appear to be fairly interchangeable characters in Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream.

They both fall in love with the wrong woman. Lysander falls in love with Hermia, whose father, Egeus, refuses to let him marry her. Demetrius also falls in love with Hermia (or says he does), but Hermia doesn't want to marry him, even though her father prefers him to Lysander.

Change their names around, and it wouldn't really make much difference to the play, at least as far as this basic plot line is concerned.

The differences between Lysander and Demetrius become clearer, however, and the characters become much more distinguishable, as the plot develops.

The most notable difference between the two young men is that Lysander is honorable, but Demetrius is not.

Before the play begins, Demetrius pursued Helena but abandoned her and turned his attentions to Hermia. Then Demetrius insisted that Hermia marry him.

Lysander never wavers in his love for Hermia—except...

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