Helena And Hermia In A Midsummer Night's Dream

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Names identify, labeling someone in a way that is one’s own yet at the same time shared by thousands. In Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, the names of his leading female characters are uniquely their own while also connecting them to higher entities that inspired them. Allusions to the Greek gods and heroes run ramped through Shakespeare’s play; especially obvious in his character names, as some are slightly modified or directly from mythology. These deliberate namesakes are often reflected in the actions or traits of the characters but tend to vary between a connection and a separation. The differences between the play and the film, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, serve at different time to strengthen and weaken the allusion of Helena and Hermia to the mythological Greek characters their names were inspired by. As sometimes described in the play and depicted in the film, the physical appearance of the women connects and separates them from their namesakes, Hermes and Helen of Troy. Through nearly half of the play, Helena is discarded as being unwanted and even refers to herself as being “as ugly as a bear” while her namesake refers differently (MSND II, ii, 100). Being named after Helen of Troy, Helena is expected to be the most beautiful woman to have walked the earth and in the movie is depicted as so, with classically beautiful features and voluminous blonde hair, yet the play serves as a contradiction (Hoffman). Being classically beautiful in one but described as

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