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The play is a fairy tale of a poor girl's love for a handsome courtier of noble birth. The main theme of the play is the contrast between a person's honor and a person's birthright. In this play, Shakespeare shows that virtuous actions are clearly more important than virtuous birth.
Several minor Themes pervade the play, lending it real complexity. There is a juxtaposition between youth and age, appearance and reality, idealism and cynicism, and moral culpability of the young compared to the moral steadfastness of the older generation.
The mood of this play varies from mourning to hopefulness, from possibility to devastation, and defeat to victory over great odds. For the most part, the mood follows Helena's actions. When she is grieving, the mood is somber. When she feels guilty, the mood is uneasy. When she is victorious, the mood is jubilant.