Thesis: In this play one of the characters that catches the eye of the reader is Demetrius, his character is really difficult to identify except by his relation to the one he loves, or even more, to the one who loves him. Helena the character in love with Demetrius and her unjustified pursue for his love is the only clue or mark for his character. Under the undesirable pressure of this unwanted charm that she has for his love, he turns violent and threatens her with bodily harm, coming off as not quite the loving person he truly means to be.
It is easy to perceive how he is distracted from the one he loves Hermia because of Helenas hard headed actions in the beginning. He could be a gentle loving man if he truly desired, but he takes satisfaction being put in his place by others. In the end, still under the spell of fairy magic and therefore not seeing with true eyes, he seems a bit imbecilic launching at the acted lovers in the play. He doesnt realize it, but he is in a play of its own.
Likewise, as with the other characters, what happens to him is far more interesting than the sort of character he is. His character is very limited during the first act, this means that he cant stand up for himself, also displays lack of self confidence, insecurity perhaps because of the presence of his father. The reader may implies that Demetrius thoughts were that because he had the approval of the duke Egeus, Hermia should give herself up to him and disapprove Lysander, the one she loves.
Demetrius took advantage of his social stature by claiming Hermia as the one for him, which truly portrays his instability. At the same time, this showed that he loves Hermia. It is know that he is supported by Egeus because of the relationship with Demetrius dad, hateful Lysander opposes saying that she loves him and no other. Egeus decides that Demetrius is the one that deserves Hermia at this point, his ego shows uplifted and looks down on to Lysander projecting an inferior state.
During the love trial Demetrius demoralizes Helena by almost laughing at her deep ridicule feelings she has for him: Ill run from thee and hide me in the breaks and leave thee to the mercy of wild beasts. (Demetrius, 2. 1. 234-235) Helena could crash on her bike and die on the very next moment and he would not care about it. Thorough the whole play he takes advantage of any situation that he thinks may benefit him everything like when Lysander was missing: I had rather give his luck to my hounds and if I could, what should I get there for says to Hermia, A privileged never to see more.
And from thy hated presence I see me no more, whether he be dead or no. (Hermia, 3. 2. 81-83). This awful conversation shows that he has a very demoralizing personality and disrespects Lysander he doesnt realize that at this point Hermia doesnt feel comfortable with any aspect of his personality she dislikes him and doesnt want to see him ever again, inadvertly he comes across as the main reason why Lysander is missing, Hermia automatically thinks of him as the murderer of Lysander: It cannot be but thou hast murdered him.
So should a murderer look, so dead so grim. (Hermia, 3. 2. 58-59). During these events Helena still persists in gaining Demetrius love, instead he still lowers her, but this time he drowns her and she cannot surface again: You do impeach your modesty too much to leave the city and commit yourself into the hands of one that loves you not, to trust the opportunity of night and the ill counsel of a desert place with the rich worth of your virginity. (Demetrius, 2. 1. 221-226). Helena blinded thinking in a different way accepts.
Demetrieus loves the external beauty ignoring what feelings are he is only concerned with sexual feelings on the other hand Lysander is more concerned with inner feelings beauty. Demetrius enjoys fighting with women it makes him feel flattered by the attraction during the fight this can be due to the relationship with his dad which is not really touched but only in the beginning of act I, he also makes reference to his high political stature and states and that because of this Hermia is his, in contrast Lysander is emotional with pure feelings.
Helena and Demetrius meet more than once, the second time in the woods this time it seems that he is trying to put an end to his situation regarding her: Stay, though thou kill me, sweet Demetrius. Demetrius: I charge thee, hence, and do not haunt me thus. Helena: O, wilt thou darkling leave me? Do not so. Demetrius: Stay on thy peril. I alone will go. (2. 2. 90-93) It is really doubtful that he loved Helena while trying to get Hermias love. He tears her heart showing a heartless personality: I love thee not; therefore pursue thee notHence, get thee gone, and follow me no more.
Tell you I do not, nor I cannot love you? (Demetrius, 2. 1. 195-208) Demetrious is a less poetic and romantic figure, which is based on his perception of women, violent and unchivalrous. When he shakes off Helena, he portrays a person without charm: Do I entice you? Do I speak you fair? Or rather do I not in plainest truth Tempt not too much the hatred of my spirit, for I am sick when I do look on thee. (Demetrius, 2. 1. 206-219). Hermia completely erased him out of her life this makes him really feel sorrow so he decides no to peruse her anymore so he decides to give some time thinking that she would miss him.
Demetrius under a spell does a complete 360* and the effect of this love spell now shuts Hermia completely out of his life: Lysander, keep thy Hermia. I will none. If I loved her, all that love is gone. My heart to her but as guest-wise sojourned, and now to Helen is it home returned, there to remain. (Demetrius, 3. 2. 172-176). Demetrius immediately becomes extremely violent toward lysander: I say I love thee more than he can do. (Demetrius,3. 2. 261) he has no reason because he now loves Hermia so Helena asks him to prove him self: If thou say so withdraw and prove it too. (Lysander, 3. 2. 2) this finally makes Demetrius follow his instincts and he finally realizes that he really wanted Hermia but couldnt stand high enough to be her loved one.
In conclusion Demetrius personality is the type that when wants something will do anything to get it, even if it includes manipulating, hurting or going over every obstacle until achieving it. In this play he experiences reality and illusion, change and transformation and it keeps the reader in close attention of his character. He is an important part of this play without his character the play would be dull and the plot unflavorfull.