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Lysander & Hermia in A Midsummer Night's Dream: Relationship, Love & Quotes

Lysander & Hermia in A Midsummer Night's Dream: Relationship, Love & Quotes
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  • 0:03 Trouble in Paradise
  • 1:00 Lysander & Hermia in…
  • 1:56 Lysander & Hermia Together
  • 2:32 Love Quotes
  • 3:35 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Dori Starnes

Dori has taught college and high school English courses, and has Masters degrees in both literature and education.

Hermia and Lysander have a love that is true but very complicated. So when Hermia is faced with an impossible choice, she decides to run away. But you can't run away from your problems, and her troubles follow her into the woods. Find out more about their relationship in 'A Midsummer Night's Dream.'

Trouble in Paradise

Have you ever wanted someone so bad, you were willing to die for them? That's the dilemma the female lead Hermia faces at the start of William Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream. Hermia is forbidden her love with Lysander and told her options are marry a man she detests, give up men forever, or die...so she decides to take matters into her own hands to ensure she ends up with the man she loves.

Athenian law is very clear on one point. A father has the right to choose for his children, and Egeus claims that right of his rebellious daughter, Hermia. He demands that she marry Demetrius. The problem is that Hermia is in love, but not with Demetrius. She loves Lysander. When Hermia is given the choice of marriage to Demetrius, life without men, or death, she picks none of the above. Instead, she and Lysander hatch a plan to elope and be free of Athenian law and free to be with each other.

Lysander and Hermia in the Forest

The trouble comes when Hermia tells her plan to her friend, Helena. Helena loves Demetrius, so she tells him of Hermia and Lysander's idea to run away, and Demetrius follows them. Then, Helena follows Demetrius into the woods outside Athens, which is the realm of the trickster Puck and his master, the King of the fairies, Oberon.

Observing a scene between Helena and Demetrius where she professes her love and he scorns it, Oberon tells Puck that they should fix the problem. So he orders Puck to put the drops of a magical flower into Demetrius's eyes so he will love Helena. But Puck mistakes Lysander for Demetrius, and suddenly Lysander is scorning Hermia and declaring his love for Helena.

Hermia is heartbroken. And while it eventually becomes clear that there has been a mishap, and Oberon orders Puck to fix it, Lysander does say some very hurtful things to Hermia before the spell is lifted.

Lysander & Hermia Together

Upon the reversal of the magic (for Lysander, at least), the Duke Theseus comes into the forest and sees the pairs of lovers. Demetrius declares that he loves Helena now, and Theseus overrules Egeus and says Lysander and Hermia can marry. So Hermia and Lysander get married in a triple ceremony with Helena and Demetrius and the Duke and his lady, Hippolyta. The play ends with the fairies blessing their marriage beds. So, at least for Lysander and Hermia, A Midsummer Night's Dream has a wonderful, happy ending. They, we can really hope, will truly live happily ever after.

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