From which Shakespearean work does the quote below come and what are the circumstances in which it is spoken?Use me but asyour spaniel--spurn me, strike me, Neglect me, lose me: only give me...

From which Shakespearean work does the quote below come and what are the circumstances in which it is spoken?

Use me but asyour spaniel--spurn me, strike me,

Neglect me, lose me: only give me leave,

Unworthy as I am, to follow you.

Asked on by fitter638

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akasha124's profile pic

akasha124 | (Level 1) Assistant Educator

Posted on

It comes from A Midsummer Night's Dream, Act 2 Scene 1:

HELENA

And even for that do I love you the more. I am your spaniel. And, Demetrius, The more you beat me, I will fawn on you. Use me but as your spaniel—spurn me, strike me, Neglect me, lose me. Only give me leave, Unworthy as I am, to follow you. What worser place can I beg in your love— And yet a place of high respect with me— Than to be usèd as you use your dog?

 

Helena says it, and she's saying that Demetrius can treat her as his dog and the more he beats her, the more she loves him.  She's begging him to be allowed to just follow behind him and be ignored by him.  Even though she feels that there's no worse place in someone's heart than that of a dog's, she'd rather be there than no where at all.

Demetrius' response to her impassioned plea is basically, you annoy me.

pohnpei397's profile pic

pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted on

This is from "A Midsummer Night's Dream."  The lines are spoken by the character Helena.  They come from Act II, Scene 1.

What happens here is that Helena is talking to Demetrius.  She is in love with him.  Sadly for her, Demetrius is going to be marrying Hermia, who is a friend of Helena's.

Hermia does not love Demetrius -- she loves Lysander.  Because of this, she and Lysander run away together.

Both Helena and Demetrius end up chasing the two lovers into the forest.  While they are in the forest, Helena speaks the lines you cite.

lynnebh's profile pic

lynnebh | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Senior Educator

Posted on

This quote is from Midsummer Night's Dream.

HELENA

And even for that do I love you the more. I am your spaniel. And, Demetrius, The more you beat me, I will fawn on you. Use me but as your spaniel—spurn me, strike me, Neglect me, lose me. Only give me leave, Unworthy as I am, to follow you. What worser place can I beg in your love— And yet a place of high respect with me— Than to be usèd as you use your dog

Helena is talking to Demetrius in Act 2, Scene 1. Helena is the friend of Hermia. They have each known the other since they were young girls. Helena is in love with Demetrius but Hermia's father wants Demetrius to marry his daughter Hermia. Hermia is in love with Lysander, not Demetrius. Demetrius and Helena have met in the woods and they are planning to elope together. Hermia's father insists that it is duty as a father to choose a husband for his daughter and he thinks that Hermia has been bewitched, that is why she has fallen in love with Lysander and not Demetrius.

Thus begins the complicated plot of this play. You can read the analysis right here on eNotes.

lit24's profile pic

lit24 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Valedictorian

Posted on

These lines are from Shakespeare's comedy "A Midsummer Night's Dream" Act II Scene 1.

Helena is in love with Demetrius, but Demetrius is in love with Hermia who in turn is in love with Lysander. The Duke of Athens has ordered that Hermia in accordance with her father's wishes must marry only Demetrius. Hermia and Lysander have run away together to get married secretly. Helena who has come to know of this reveals this to Demetrius hoping that he would thank her and fall in love with her, however, on the contrary Demetrius follows Lysander and Hermia into the forest with the intention of killing Lysander and marrying Hermia.

Helena also follows Demetrius into the forest and pleads with him to reciprocate her love for him and marry her. Demetrius tells her plainly that he does not and can never ever love her. It is then that she speaks these lines:

I am your spaniel; and, Demetrius, The more you beat me, I will fawn on you: Use me but as your spaniel, spurn me, strike me, Neglect me, lose me; only give me leave, Unworthy as I am, to follow you.

Helena means to tell Demetrius that the more he rejects her love, the more she will continue to follow him like a dog who will follow its master faithfully no matter how cruelly he treats him.

 

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