18 February 2008
Hermia vs. Jessica
William Shakespeare’s comedies can be defined as “a drama that provokes laughter at
human behavior, usually involves romantic love, and usually has a happy ending.” (Boyce 119).
A Midsummer Night’s Dream
The Merchant of Venice
fully demonstrate the definition of
comedies as the audience cheers on an array of characters as they overcome the obstacles that
impede them from a life of love and happiness.
Two of these characters have much the same
goal in mind: defy her father and create her own life.
When judging successfulness based on
motive, method, and conviction, it is Hermia, not Jessica, who has the ultimate success.
A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Hermia
is the daughter of an extremely stubborn
Athenian man, Egeus, who cares so much about his patrimony he is willing to have his daughter
sentenced to death rather than have her love, Lysander, inherit his wealth.
It is her charm and
beauty that seduced not only Lysander but her father’s choice, Demetrius, as well.
learns much of Hermia’s appeal from her envious childhood friend, Helena.
“Call you me fair?
That fair again unsay.
Demetrius loves your fair, O happy fair!
Your eyes are lodestars and your
tongue’s sweet air more tuneable than lark to shepherd’s ear when wheat is green, when
hawthorn buds appear.
Sickness is catching, O, were favor so, I catch, fair Hermia, ere I go; my
ear should catch your voice, my eye your eye, my tongue should catch your tongue’s sweet
Were the world mine, Demetrius being bated, the rest I’ll give to be translated.
teach me how you look and with what art you sway the motion of Demetrius’ heart” (I i 181-
Helena’s love for Demetrius blinds her to the fact that she is just as beautiful and charming