A Midsummer Night's Dream by William Shakespeare

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Who is Nedar in Midsummer Night's Dream from act 1, scene 1, line 109?

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Lynn Ramsson eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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In Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream, Nedar is mentioned only twice in the play, and he is Helena's father. Not much else is known or documented about Nedar, but some literary experts have sought to explain the story behind the name. For example, Terence Hawkes, a prominent British Shakespeare scholar who died in 2014, notes that the name Nedar is an anagram, or a rearrangement of the letters, of the name Arden, the name linked with a noble family on Shakespeare's mother's side. Shakespeare may have sought to honor this side of his ancestry with the name Nedar. Hawkes also argues that Nedar may be a reference to the river Neda in Greece, and to the water spirits or nymphs associated with this river. Though this theory is also interesting, there are no other mentions of the river in the play, so its significance is dubious.

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Nedar is Helena's father, "Made love to Nedar's daughter, Helena," (line 109). As we have already seen with Hermia is Act I, daughters are seen as their father's possessions, which Helena's introduction in this line helps illustrate.

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Helena is Nedar's daughter. Besides that, and the fact that Egeus later in the play calls Nedar "old Nedar," we aren't told anything about this person.

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ilovecatsandshakespeare | Student

hellna's father

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