Life Happens

A Timeline of Helena's Emotions

Theme: Love is complicated

In A Midsummer Night's Dream, Shakespeare is trying to make one theme very prominent: Love is not simple. He represents that theme through the character, Helena. Throughout the play, she is being torn between doing what her heart wants and what is right. She's determined for most of the play to catch Demetrius' attention, but near the middle she starts having doubts. She also represents jealousy. She's envious of her pretty childhood friend that Demetrius loves, Hermia. In the play, Helena is a whirlwind of emotions, and this playlist fits her well. And overall, she learns that everything turns out okay in the end.
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#1: Still Into You - Paramore

Paramore: Still Into You [OFFICIAL VIDEO]
I really believe that this entire song describes the feeling that Helena had when she was with Demetrius, which was mentioned at the very beginning of the play. In particular, I think Helena would listen to the very last chorus. She's making all these promises that she finally found the right person for her, and that's what this song is basically about. The end is really chaotic and energetic, and I think that's like Helena because she's not really thinking straight. The tone of the song is, in one word, excited. Although it's not described in the book, we can infer that Helena was really happy and excited when she met Demetrius, and I think this song fits that moment perfectly.

#2: Rather Be - Clean Bandit ft. Jess Glynne

Clean Bandit - Rather Be ft. Jess Glynne [Official Video]
This song represents Helena's relationship with Demetrius near the beginning of the play, as well. As you probably know already, the relationship is decent at the beginning but near the middle it takes a sudden turn. This is before all that. This song is really hopeful, like when Helena still thinks that she has a chance with Demetrius. The lyrics really stand out, too. She keeps asking Demetrius for another chance, which is almost what the lyrics are saying in the chorus. I also think that Helena would listen to the whole song, not just one section. This song fits her perfectly (at the beginning of the play).

#3: Dernière Danse - Indila

Indila - Dernière Danse (Clip Officiel)
Although in French, you might have already guessed what this song is about. If you're still wondering, just click the button above and it will take you to the lyrics in French and in English. One of the lyrics (in English) that would really stand out to Helena is:

Oh my sweet torment,

No point in fighting, you start again
I'm but a meaningless being
Without him I'm a bit troubled
I wander around alone on the subway

I feel like this section and this section only applies to Helena. The rest of the song is about her moving on and running away from "him," but that doesn't happen in Helena's case. These selected lyrics explain just how much Helena is attached to Demetrius, and even though he keeps pushing her away, she can't live without him. The overall tone of the song applies to Helena's emotions, too. It's powerful, and determined, which is how she tries to feel around Demetrius (of course it doesn't work).

#4: Maps - Maroon 5

Maroon 5 - Maps
I think this song best represents when Helena decides to follow Demetrius into the forest. The overall tone of the song is, at first, uplifting, but when you listen to the lyrics, it has a dark twist to it. I think of this as foreshadowing for what's about to happen. I think that the chorus would really match Helena's emotions because a lot of people think that the chorus is really repetitive and annoying (not me!).

#5: Clarity - Zedd ft. Foxes

Zedd - Clarity (Official Video) ft. Foxes
The chorus of this song perfectly capture's Helena's sense of confusion when Demetrius threatens her in the woods. She's wondering why he can't explain how they can't be together, when he clearly has. She's not even listening anymore; she can't hear him over the loud thoughts in her head. The chorus also has a sense of longing, so this is when Helena starts to have doubts about her love for Demetrius. Tiny doubts, though, she remains determined for the majority of the play.

#6: Need You Right Now - Bethany Mota

Need You Right Now (Official Lyric Video)
It's the lyrics of this song that really represents Helena's emotions, especially:

Like a thief you robbed me in the dark
But I thought I locked all the doors
You told me we didn't have that spark
Then you burned me to the core, yeah

I definitely think that Helena would listen to this part of the song the most often. These lyrics basically sum up all of Helena's emotions right before Lysander and Demetrius argue over Helena. I'd consider this the peak of Helena's jealousy, and at this point she's really desperate. The tune, not so much. It's a little too bright for this situation. But the lyrics have a lot of meaning.

#7: Mean - Taylor Swift

Taylor Swift - Mean
I promise, this is my only Taylor Swift song on this playlist :)

I believe that this entire song represents Helena's feelings toward Lysander when he's cursed and in love with her. The song is really repetitive in my opinion, and I think that's how Helena's trying to drown him out. By now, she's not really taking it too seriously. But things are about to change when Demetrius joins in and starts arguing with Lysander, which is the next song.

#8: La La La - Naughty Boy ft. Sam Smith

Naughty Boy - La La La ft. Sam Smith
I think this song is represents when things escalate and Demetrius starts fighting with Lysander over Helena. She's just about had enough. She would listen to the whole song, because I believe it's the lyrics that really represent her situation. In the end, she "finds a way to block it," and that's by running away from everything. Although I think the song has more of a lighthearted feel, while Helena's crisis isn't really like that. But overall, the message of the lyrics is what symbolizes Helena trying to shut Lysander, Demetrius, and Hermia out of her head.

#9: One Minute More - Capital Cities

Capital Cities - One Minute More (Official Video)
The bridge leading up the chorus fits Helena'a twinge of doubt she has when she wakes up, but she ends up happy. The lyrics are "This life is an exploration / And you gotta see what I see in you." It's her final, involuntary pray for Demetrius to have the same feelings as her. I think she'd listen to just this part and the chorus, though. I believe that the rest is too happy, while Helena is still confused yet hopeful.

#10: You've Changed - Sia

Sia - You've Changed
A happy ending! Finally! This whole song describes Helena's emotions at the very end of the play. She's so happy that Demetrius finally came around. She would especially listen to the chorus, because Demetrius "changed... for the better. Yeah!" I think this song could also apply to the entire ending; not just for Helena. Hermia's happy that Theseus changed for the better, Oberon's happy that Titania changed for the better. I think this song could just fit the entire play, altogether! One theme that Shakespeare addresses could be "Love is complicated," but I believe the main theme of the human experience is "Life happens," and he attempts at making that point clear. Hearts are broken, people get lost, plans get messed up, but in the end, it always turns out the way it should.