A Midsummer Night's Dream

Demetrius Character Analysis

Read our modern English translation.
An Athenian nobleman who also loves Hermia. Unlike Lysander, Demetrius is an inconstant lover. Before the events of the play, he wooed Helena, then rejected her and pursued Hermia. He can be cruel at times, as when he threatens to abandon Helena in the forest, and there's no indication he would ever have come to return Helena's love without the influence of the love potion.

Demetrius Quotes in A Midsummer Night's Dream

The A Midsummer Night's Dream quotes below are all either spoken by Demetrius or refer to Demetrius. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Love Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Simon & Schuster edition of A Midsummer Night's Dream published in 2004.
Act 1, scene 1 Quotes
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. (227)
Related Characters: Helena (speaker), Hermia, Demetrius
Page Number: 1.1.233-241
Explanation and Analysis:

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Act 2, scene 1 Quotes
We cannot fight for love, as men may do;
We should be wooed and were not made to woo.
I'll follow thee and make a heaven of hell,
to die upon the hand I love so well. (226)
Related Characters: Helena (speaker), Demetrius
Page Number: 2.1.248-251
Explanation and Analysis:

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Act 3, scene 2 Quotes
Lord, what fools these mortals be! (117)
Related Characters: Robin Goodfellow (Puck) (speaker), Hermia, Helena, Lysander, Demetrius
Page Number: 3.2.117
Explanation and Analysis:

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O spite! O hell! I see you all are bent
To set against me for your merriment:
If you we re civil and knew courtesy,
You would not do me thus much injury.
Can you not hate me, as I know you do,
But you must join in souls to mock me too?
If you were men, as men you are in show,
You would not use a gentle lady so;
To vow, and swear, and superpraise my parts,
When I am sure you hate me with your hearts.
You both are rivals, and love Hermia;
And now both rivals, to mock Helena:
A trim exploit, a manly enterprise,
To conjure tears up in a poor maid's eyes
With your derision! none of noble sort
Would so offend a virgin, and extort
A poor soul's patience, all to make you sport. (147)
Related Characters: Helena (speaker), Hermia, Lysander, Demetrius
Page Number: 3.2.148-164
Explanation and Analysis:

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Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

Act 4, scene 1 Quotes
May all to Athens back again repair
And think no more of this night's accidents
But as the fierce vexation of a dream. (50)
Related Characters: Oberon (speaker), Hermia, Helena, Lysander, Demetrius
Page Number: 4.1.68-70
Explanation and Analysis:

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I know you two are rival enemies:
How comes this gentle concord in the world,
That hatred is so far from jealousy,
To sleep by hate, and fear no enmity? (129)
Related Characters: Theseus (speaker), Lysander, Demetrius
Page Number: 4.1.148-151
Explanation and Analysis:

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Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

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Demetrius Character Timeline in A Midsummer Night's Dream

The timeline below shows where the character Demetrius appears in A Midsummer Night's Dream. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Act 1, scene 1
Love Theme Icon
Men and Women Theme Icon
The Supernatural Theme Icon
...angry Athenian nobleman Egeus, enters, with his daughter Hermia and her two suitors Lysander and Demetrius. Egeus explains to Theseus that he wants his daughter to marry Demetrius, but that she... (full context)
Men and Women Theme Icon
Theseus speaks to Hermia, advising her to obey her father, and adding that Demetrius is a worthy man. When Hermia responds that Lysander is also worthy, Theseus says that... (full context)
Love Theme Icon
The Supernatural Theme Icon
Hermia asks what will happen if she refuses to marry Demetrius. Theseus gives the following choices: become a nun, be put to death, or marry Demetrius.... (full context)
Love Theme Icon
Demetrius asks Hermia to relent and marry him. But Lysander snaps that since Demetrius has Egeus's... (full context)
Love Theme Icon
Lysander points out that he's as well born and wealthy as Demetrius. He adds that Demetrius is an inconstant lover: before he met Hermia, Demetrius wooed and... (full context)
Men and Women Theme Icon
...the laws of Athens. He advises Hermia to obey her father, and tells Egeus and Demetrius to come with him, so he can discuss with them the plans for his wedding... (full context)
Love Theme Icon
Just then, Hermia's childhood friend and Demetrius's former love, Helena, enters. She wishes she had Hermia's beauty so that Demetrius would love... (full context)
Love Theme Icon
Men and Women Theme Icon
...to "form and dignity." She notes that she is as beautiful as Hermia, but that Demetrius can't see it. And she adds that love is like an inconstant child: Demetrius once... (full context)
Act 2, scene 1
Love Theme Icon
Men and Women Theme Icon
The Supernatural Theme Icon
Just then, Oberon hears voices. Since he's invisible, he decides to spy. Demetrius and Helena enter, walking through the woods. Demetrius tells Helena to stop following him since... (full context)
Love Theme Icon
Plays Within Plays Theme Icon
Dreams Theme Icon
Men and Women Theme Icon
The Supernatural Theme Icon
After they exit, Oberon promises that soon Demetrius will seek Helena's love. Once Puck returns with the love-in-idleness flower, Oberon tells him that... (full context)
Act 2, scene 2
Love Theme Icon
Men and Women Theme Icon
Demetrius runs into the glade, pursued by Helena. He demands she cease following. She begs him... (full context)
Love Theme Icon
Helena wakes Lysander, who immediately professes his love for her. He curses Demetrius for mistreating her, and regrets all "the tedious minutes" he spent with Hermia now that... (full context)
Act 3, scene 2
Love Theme Icon
Men and Women Theme Icon
...success with the Athenian youth and Puck says he used the potion as Oberon asked, Demetrius and Hermia enter, fighting. Hermia suspects Demetrius has harmed Lysander because she doesn't believe he... (full context)
Love Theme Icon
Plays Within Plays Theme Icon
Dreams Theme Icon
The Supernatural Theme Icon
...forest for Helena, and use some illusion to bring her to Oberon, who will make Demetrius fall in love with her. Puck exits. (full context)
Love Theme Icon
Plays Within Plays Theme Icon
Dreams Theme Icon
The Supernatural Theme Icon
Oberon puts the love ointment on Demetrius' eyes as Puck returns with the warning that Helena is on her way and trailed... (full context)
Love Theme Icon
Men and Women Theme Icon
...to see that his vows of love are authentic. She doesn't believe him. Just then, Demetrius awakens, sees Helena, and falls in love. When he professes his love, she is furious.... (full context)
Love Theme Icon
Men and Women Theme Icon
As Demetrius and Lysander argue, Hermia enters. She demands to know why Lysander abandoned her. Lysander tells... (full context)
Love Theme Icon
Helena asks Lysander and Demetrius to protect her, which they gladly do, though she never ceases to think they're mocking... (full context)
Act 4, scene 1
Love Theme Icon
Plays Within Plays Theme Icon
Men and Women Theme Icon
The Supernatural Theme Icon
...castle in honor of Duke Theseus's wedding and the weddings of Lysander and Hermia and Demetrius and Helena. (full context)
Love Theme Icon
Dreams Theme Icon
The Supernatural Theme Icon
...to hunt. But they recognize the sleeping lovers and wake them. Theseus asks Lysander and Demetrius how such rivals came to be sleeping peacefully in the same glade. Lysander isn't sure,... (full context)
Act 5, scene 1
Love Theme Icon
Men and Women Theme Icon
...speak though a hole in the wall that he represents with his fingers. Theseus and Demetrius comment that the Wall is the wittiest wall they've ever heard speak. (full context)