A Midsummer Night’s Dream Quotes

How happy some o’er other some can be!
Through Athens I am thought as fair as she.
But what of that? Demetrius thinks not so.
He will not know what all but he do know.
And as he errs, doting on Hermia’s eyes,
So I, admiring of his qualities.
Things base and vile, holding no quantity,
Love can transpose to form and dignity.
Love looks not with the eyes, but with the mind;
And therefore is winged Cupid painted blind.
Nor hath Love’s mind of any judgment taste.
Wings and no eyes figure unheedy haste.
And therefore is Love said to be a child,
Because in choice he is so oft beguiled.

– William Shakespeare

A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Act 1, Scene 1. Helena delivers this moving monologue after Hermia and Lysander leave Athens to elope. She says that love blinds us from seeing the true nature of a person. What we really see is an illusion, for love is all in the head. She uses metaphors to compare love to a blind Cupid and also to a child, who is often deceived in the choices they make. Love has the power to transform people, she believes. It changes a person causing them to act irrationally. Helena is upset by the fact that her beloved Demetrius loves Hermia and not her. Although she is considered by many in Athens to be as beautiful as Hermia, Helena says that Demetrius cannot see this. For her part, Helena admits that Demetrius has "base and vile" qualities, but her blind love for him causes her to admire his qualities and see Demetrius as having "form and dignity" instead. Helen’s words about love not looking with the eyes turn out to be hilariously ironic. For in the end Puck proves the opposite to be true, spraying love potion into the eyes of the lovers who fall in love with the first creature they see! Helena’s monologue also foreshadows the blind love between Titania, Queen of the Fairies, who falls hopelessly for the donkey-headed Nick Bottom.