erIn William Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Demetrius is a character who’s personal characteristics are difficult to recognize except for his relation to the one whom he loves, or more principally, the one who is in love with him. His annoyance of Helena illustrates the first symbols of his unique characteristics; before being charmed in Act II, he even threatens Helena with bodily harm, coming off not as the affable lover he truly means to be.
It is simple to understand his ungracious character, however, by how easily he was distracted from Helena by Hermia at the beginning of the play. It seems that he could, in fact, be a generous and loving man if he truthfully desired to be, but he is weak, and would rather be put in his place by others. In the end, still under the spell of fairy magic and therefore not seeing with true eyes, he is blankly laughing at the acted “lovers” in the play-within-the-play. Since Demetrius only has two lines throughout the entire first act, it shows that he cannot stand up for himself; similarly, this lack of dialogue shows his lack of self-confidence and the representation of himself: “Relent, sweet Hermia, and, Lysander, yield Thy crazed title to my certain right.” (I.i.
93-94) He believes that because he has the approval of Hermia’s father Egeus, that she should surrender immediately to him and he only states that Lysander is going against his privilege. This is because Demetrius cannot win over and get Hermia to fall in love with him, causing him to ask or even to bribe for Egeus’s approval. It is obvious that Demetrius is well supported by Egeus: Scornful Lysander! true, he hath my love; And what is mine my love shall render him; And she is mine; and all my right of her I do estate unto Demetrius. (I.
i.115-118) Demetrius depends wholly on Egeus to display his affection for him and Egeus finishes by actually enforcing Demetrius’s love upon Hermia.It appears as though Demetrius is taking advantage of the situations he is in. Such as when pursues Hermia because of Lysander’s absence, but uses inconsiderate and harsh words about Hermia’s lover: I had rather give his carcass to my hounds An if I could, what should I get therefore? (III.ii.
75,91)A privilege never to see me more. And from thy hated presence part I so: See me no more whether he be dead or no.(III.ii.95-97)The disrespectful and unsettling words toward Lysander show Demetrius’s awful characteristics, but also that he will stop at nothing to win over Hermia.
Even though he wants to win over Hermia, he seems to be more concerned with physical affection”if I could, what should I get therefore (from this sorry and lacking relationship)?” Hermia scorns him, and tells him that she never wants to see him again.It seems that Demetrius’s personality, and mood is based on what he wants and to whom he needs to “use” to reach the love he desires and perseveres for. His despicable, yet sensitive personality really keep the reader examining what he could change into next, which makes it seem as if they were more than just a single character. Demetrius has a potpourri of characteristics in the play; they are, therefore, understandably complicated and complex, in addition to being unique.