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Nancy Meckler and Lucy Briggs-Owen explore different ways of playing Helena: as victim, as temptress, or as a reasonable woman.

DEMETRIUS Alex Hassell
HELENA Lucy Briggs-Owen

DIRECTOR Nancy Meckler
This clip is from:
First broadcast:
15 March 2012

Classroom Ideas

This clip offers an analysis of Helena's language to determine the different ways her character could be interpreted. The actor playing Helena talks about how Helena's control of language: word play, flirtation, and so on, suggests that she cannot be a complete victim. Divide the class into six groups. Ask each group to look at one exchange between Helena and Demetrius. In these exchanges Demetrius is constantly coming up with reasons to reject Helena; in turn Helena comes up with objections to Demetrius's reasons. Ask students to read the exchange and first analyse what reason Demetrius gives for rejecting Helena and then how Helena deals with the rejection. What arguments does she use? What strategies? Can they see any examples of word play that the actor makes reference to? What does all of this tell us about Helena? Ask each group to share their findings with the rest of the class.

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