The Character of Helena in Alls Well that Ends We

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The Character of Helena in All's Well that Ends Well All's Well That Ends Well Essays

The Character of Helena in All's Well that Ends Well



There is an underlying ambiguity in Helena 's character. Spreading the illustration over the four most disputed moments in All's Well, the virginity repartee, the miraculous cure of the King, the accomplishment of conditions and the bed - trick, one can detect the ''different shades'' of in her character - honourable, passionate, discreet, audacious, romantic, rational, tenacious, forgiving ... She can be sampled out to be basically an idiosyncratic person with her good and bad, positioned within the ''clever wench'' tradition and the ''fulfilling of tasks'' folk tales ( W. W. Lawrence ) which necessitates that she should behave with a determination. The whole ambiguity in Helena ensues from unrealistic dramaturgy and realistic conception of women. Throughout the play, one sees Helena jostling ingenuousness with sexuality and at times there seems to be two Helenas, one who is conventionally tame and the other who is actively all out ... a love - sick Juliet that is ready at the end to expose her darling 's ill practices. One could compare Helena with Isabella in Measure for Measure, since the characters are engulfed by different circumstances that demand each of them to act differently. Isabella is a religious figure while Helena is only love-driven.


Helen ... virtue in action ?

All other characters contribute to the promotion of Helena as a virtuous character and though in Act. II Sc. v Bertram addresses her with ''here comes my clog'' he does not diminish her already cultivated uprightness which forgoes inherited wealth and nobility. The Countess is convinced that she has a noble virtue that her son cannot achieve through his valour in war. Her virtues were assigned to her by her father and by Heaven to whose intervention she ascribes all her ability to cure the King. Somehow, she is that ''semi-divine person or some type of new saint'' in fighting for what is genuine and lawful and personifies virtue in action. This Christ projection with which W. Knights endows her could have been further sustained by showing that it is rooted in what Lefaw says in Act II Sc. iii :-


They say miracles are past; and we have our philosophical persons to make modern and familiar, things supernatural and causeless. Hence it is that we make trifles of terrors, ensconcing ourselves into s...

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