Love is a distraction that causes a break in their control of keeping up their appearances which shows up as holes in their masks. The norms of behavior before love for Helena from Midsummer's Night Dream by William Shakespeare is that she is assertive , Helena is in love with Demitrius who does not love her. Helena's personality before love is seen mostly in Hermia's descriptions and speeches. Hermia calls Helena, sweet playfellow in her farewell speech. (MND 1.2.220). We see love's effect on her personality and behavior after she falls out of love where there is a drastic difference in how she talks and behaves with Demitrius. Helena's out of love personality is that she speaks her mind and asserts herself. Helena scolds, " O' Spite! O' hell! I see you are all bent to set against me for your merriment." (3.2.114-146). Helena no longer in love scolds Lysander and Demitrius because she thinks they are making fun of her. This is something that she would not have done in the beginning of the play because she is in love with Demitrius and does everything she can to make him happy. The effect of falling out of love on Helena's personality implies that her passivity is the result of love because she becomes assertive. In order for her to fall out of love she needs to fall in love first. So Helena is given to us under the influence of love.


Rosalind from As You Like It starts out being passive and indecisive where she lets Celia make all the decisions. Rosalind when she is banished by her Uncle says,
"Why, whither we go?" (AYL 1.3.102). Celia takes the initiative and suggests that they go to see Rosalind's father. Going into the Forest of Arden in disguise was originally Celia's idea but Rosalind came up with the notion of traveling as man. Rosalind's assertiveness as Ganymede starts out as just as another part of her male disguise where she is behaving the way she thinks a man would behave but she progresses to using the male disguise to manipulate character and events to her liking.
Helena's in love behavior is passivity where she permits Demitrius to take advantage of her. Helena implores, "Neglect me, lose me: only give me leave, unworthy as I am, to follow you" (MND 2.1.206-207). The change that Helena goes through is that love causes her to become more aggressive only in her pursuit of Demitrius.
In seeking love the female characters will do what ever is necessary to get the man they want. Helena from Midsummer's Night Dream betrays her childhood friend Hermia to make in Demitrius happy. She acknowledges that that if Demitruis does thanks her it comes at at great cost because she's betrayed a friend and he will not acknowledge her sacrifice. (MND 1.2.248-249).
The women while being in love behave differently more masculine. Helena is feminine all appearances except those while she is in love she give up the female role of the wooed and adopts the male characteristics of the wooer. Helena knows that she is breaking the gender roles regarding normal courtship behavior because she says, "Your wrongs do set a scandal on my sex. We should be woo'd but were not made to woo" (MND .02.2.240-242). The scandal on her sex meaning that other woman don't go after their love but so her in wooing him is already in itself a sacrifice and a break from the normal courtship behavior.


The different behavior is the masculine masks the female characters wear as a means to get what they want which is love leading to marriage. Helena's mask unlike Rosalind's masculine mask is that love masks or covers Helena's personality and sight even as she is wearing the male mask to woo Demitris. Helena's mask is also her sight is that love covers so that she can not see Demitrius's faults. Her sight clears when she falls out of love and sees the truth being that Demitrus does not love her so she takes off her passive love mask for Demitrius.
Rosalind's masculine mask is a means to marriage because she using her male disguise teaches Orlando how to love her. She enjoys the same privileges that men do when she becomes Orlando's