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A Midsummer Night's Dream

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Earthlier Happy is the Rose

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Theseus makes several flower analogies in the play, including the following quote from Act One, Scene One, when he is addressing Hermia about her options:

But earthlier happy is the rose distill'd,
Than that which withering on the virgin thorn
Grows, lives and dies in single blessedness. (1.1.76-79)

What exactly is Theseus saying to Hermia about virginity?

A

Theseus feels that either option (becoming a nun or a wife) are equally fruitful for Hermia. She must choose what will best suit her.

B

Theseus thinks Hermia's life will be wasted if she she marries Demetrius and becomes a mother.

C

Theseus feels being a nun has no advantages, not even "blessedness" and that staying a virgin is comparable to a rosebud that simply withers and dies on a thorny vine.

D

Theseus suggests that a woman who becomes a nun is like a rose that's been "distill'd," or used to make an aromatic perfume.

E

Theseus says that Hermia's beauty will be be best used if she marries Demetrius and becomes a mother because then her beauty will live on in her offspring.