What are three traits of Helena in "A Midsummer Night's Dream" and some quotes to support them?

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Jessica Akcinar eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Helena is very obviously a desperate woman. Having once given herself to Demetrius, she cannot get over the fact that he no longer loves her and does whatever she can to rectify the situation. She also allows Demetrius to treat her badly and reject her: “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, but give me leave, unworthy as I am, to follow you.”

Helena can also be seen as treacherous. She betrays her friend, Hermia in an attempt to win back some of Demetrius's affection. She tells him of Hermia's plan elope with Lysander. Demetrius: Where is Lysander and fair Hermia? 'The one I'll slay, the other slayeth me. Thou told'st me they were stol'n into this wood; And here am I, and wood within this wood, Because I cannot meet my Hermia. Hence! get thee gone, and follow me no more.” (II.i)

Helena can also be perceived as insecure. After Lysander and Demetrius fall in love with her, Helena becomes convinced that they are mocking her. She cannot believe that they would love her instead of Hermia for she feels inferior to her friend. She also doubts Hermia's loyalty, ironically forgetting that she herself betrayed the friendship. “And will you rent our ancient love asunder, To join with men in scorning your poor friend? It is not friendly, 'tis not maidenly: Our sex, as well as I, may chide you for it, Though I alone do feel the injury.” (II.ii)

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A Midsummer Night's Dream

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