What does Hermia's response to Lysander wanting to sleep with her in the forest tell us about her?

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accessteacher eNotes educator| Certified Educator

This question depends heavily on the chosen subtext that the director choses for Hermia in this scene in Act II Scene 2. Certainly the words she says suggest that her refusing to sleep too close to Lysander shows that she is a modest and respectful woman, not wishing to violate the rules of her society and culture. However, a director could chose to have Hermia deliver those lines in a much more flirtatious way through use of body language and tone of voice to present a character who is using her sexuality to lead Lysander on and play with him.

But gentle friend, for love and courtesy

Lie further off, in human modesty;

Such separation, as may well be said,

Becomes a virtuous bachelor, and a maid,

So far be distant, and good night sweet friend;

Thy love ne'er alter, till thy sweet life end.

So you need to ask yourself how, if you were the director, you would direct Hermia in this scene. It all comes back to the question of subtext and how you interpret it.

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A Midsummer Night's Dream

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