Lysander from A Midsummer Night's Dream: Character Traits & Analysis

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  • 0:00 Lysander
  • 0:34 Lysander Makes His Case
  • 1:51 Into the Woods
  • 2:20 A Mistake
  • 2:48 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Debbie Notari
In Shakespeare's comedy 'A Midsummer Night's Dream,' a young couple named Lysander and Hermia escape through a magical wood in order to elope. Unfortunately, they are caught up in a case of misplaced identities before all gets sorted out in the end. In this lesson, we take a closer look at Lysander.


Lysander is a young man who falls in love with a beautiful woman named Hermia in Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream. Hermia's father, Egeus, has another young man named Demetrius in mind for his daughter. When Hermia expresses a desire to marry Lysander instead of Demetrius, Egeus is furious. He takes the case to Duke Theseus. The law of the land is not on Lysander's side; a young woman has to obey her father. Duke Theseus gives Hermia three choices: marry Demetrius, become a nun, or die.

Lysander Makes His Case

Lysander is a regular guy. He tries to convince Egeus to allow him to marry Hermia. He even points out that Demetrius is not to be trusted, as he had won the heart of another woman, Hermia's friend Helena, and then dumped her. Lysander makes his case by saying:

I am, my lord, as well derived as he, ( or, 'I am just as good of a choice as Demetrius.')

As well possess'd; my love is more than his; ( or, 'I love Hermia more than he does.')

My fortunes every way as fairly rank'd, (or, 'I have as much money as he does.')

If not with vantage, as Demetrius'; (or, 'I am even a little better off than he is.')

And, which is more than all these boasts can be, ('And even more . . .')

I am beloved of beauteous Hermia: (or, 'Hermia loves me.')

Why should not I then prosecute my right? (or, 'why shouldn't I fight for her hand in marriage?')

Demetrius, I'll avouch it to his head, (or, 'Demetrius, I swear . . .')

Made love to Nedar's daughter, Helena, ('he flirted with Nedar's daughter, Helena.')

And won her soul; and she, sweet lady, dotes, ('and won her love. She is deeply in love with him.')

Devoutly dotes, dotes in idolatry, (or, 'she loves him so much, it's like Demetrius is her idol.')

Upon this spotted and inconstant man. ('but he obviously dumped her for Hermia. He is faithless.')

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