In for her to be a cruel

In Act III, Scene 2, lines 191-218 of Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Helena experiences confusion and frustration after fairy drops are improperly dispensed. Helena interprets Lysander and Demetrius’ outpouring of love for her to be a cruel joke. She accuses Hermia of being in on the mockery, and shames her for it because Helena and Hermia were previously great friends.In these lines, Helena speaks in a tone of self-pitiful misery. She makes herself out to be the victim of a cruel joke, and uses examples of she and Hermia’s friendship to make Hermia feel guilty. She tells Hermia that “I alone do feel the injury” to emphasize that she is being hurt by the supposed actions of Hermia. However, Helena fails to realize that Hermia is also hurt by the events taking place, as she witnesses Lysander, the supposed love of her life, fall in love with Helena, her closest friend.  This entire scene is full of irony. Helena believes that Hermia, Lysander and Demetrius are mocking her, however, those three believe that what they feel and see are true emotions. The truth is, Lysander was unknowingly put under a spell by the fairies that made him fall in love with Helena, so he is neither faking his emotions, nor are they really his true desires. Helena’s words also reveal Shakespeare’s use of dramatic irony in the play. The audience is aware that Hermia has not plotted against Helena, but Helena believes otherwise based on her observations. Shakespeare includes dramatic irony to draw in the audience, get them involved and create suspense, playing on the audience’s emotion.Helena makes many references to pairs to describe her close friendship with Hermia. She uses the simile “like to a double cherry, seeming parted, but yet an union in partition, two lovely berries molded in one stem” (208-210) to illustrate how Helena and Hermia have grown up side by side in friendship. Being two berries on the same stem, Helena describes she and Hermia’s friendship as being strong and sister-like. Helena uses this line and many other references to twos or pairs to emphasize how much she is hurt because she believes her best friend has betrayed and mocked her. Helena also attempts to make Hermia feel guilty by saying that not only Helena, but all women are ashamed of Hermia for her actions. Helena says “our sex, as well as I, may chide you for it” (217). Helena uses ethos to establish her claims as being credible. By suggesting that all women agree with her, Helena attempts to establish support for her claims. Helena asks questions in order to make Hermia feel ashamed of herself. She asks Hermia “have you conspired, have you with these contrived, to bait me with this foul derision.” (195-196), “O, is all forgot? All school days’ friendship, childhood innocence?” (200-202). By asking rhetorical questions, Helena forces Hermia to answer those questions for herself and reflect on her actions. This makes Hermia put more of the guilt on herself rather than receiving all of the shame from Helena. It makes Helena’s accusations of Hermia more personal which in turn is more effective in making her feel ashamed.Helena is hurt by Demetrius, Hermia and Lysander for seemingly mocking her and plotting against her. She tries to make others feel guilty for their actions even though they did not have intentions of insulting Helena. Helena especially attempts to make Hermia feel guilty by explaining how great of a friendship they had and how hurtful it was for Hermia to “betray” her. Helena’s claims cause confusion for the characters in the play and add to the irony of the play, which makes the audience more intrigued.