Illustration of a donkey-headed musician in between two white trees

A Midsummer Night's Dream

by William Shakespeare
Start Free Trial

Hermia says in Act 1, Scene 2 "Belike for want of rain, which I could tell /Beteem them from the tempest of my eyes." What is significant about the word tempest in this line?

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

In this scene, Hermia is pale because she has been told she must marry Demetrius or become a nun, when she is in love with and wants to marry Lysander. When Lysander asks her why the roses (color) have left her cheeks, she responds it's because she wants to cry:...

See
This Answer Now

Start your 48-hour free trial to unlock this answer and thousands more. Enjoy eNotes ad-free and cancel anytime.

Get 48 Hours Free Access

In this scene, Hermia is pale because she has been told she must marry Demetrius or become a nun, when she is in love with and wants to marry Lysander. When Lysander asks her why the roses (color) have left her cheeks, she responds it's because she wants to cry: her tears, she says, are needed to water her cheeks. The word "tempest" is significant because it reveals that although she is dry-eyed, she is deeply upset and in intense inner turmoil: she doesn't just want to weep, she wants to cry violently and for a long time. Inside she is experiencing the kind of emotional upheaval characterized by a wild storm.  

The word tempest foreshadows or hints to us of Hermia's strong, tempestuous personality. She is a woman of deep emotion, who will follow her heart.

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team