A Latin form of Helen, it likely means either torch or moon. Let’s go with moon. 😉 It has several acceptable pronunciations but my favorite is Hel-AY-nah, though I also like Hel-EE-na.
Shakespeare liked the name enough to use it on two characters. In A Midsummer Night’s Dream Helena is desperately in love with a man who does not return her affections. She continues to standby his side though he is downright terrible to her. In the end she is with (in my opinion) a far more deserving husband. Her character is a symbol of faithfulness, not just in love, but to one’s friends and family as well.
In All’s Well That Ends Well, Helena again is in love with someone who does not return her affections. She goes to extreme lengths to trick him into marrying her and staying married to her. In the end the fact that she went through these extreme lengths makeshim fall in love with her, so all’s well that ends well.
If I’m being honest I find both these characters a little pathetic… they remind me of junior high girls chasing after their crush with no respect for themselves. In the real world, a relationship like the one in All’s Well would disgust me. I’d never believe he loved her the way he should if it took that much for him to love her. BUT I’m saying this as a 20 something “feminist” in 2017. The fact is men and women were viewed very differently when Shakespeare wrote these plays. I do like what I believe to be the intended characteristics of Shakespeare’s Helenas: romantic, loyal, and determined as hell. I like their never give up attitudes and I’m glad they end up happy in the end.
“Helena” is a song by My Chemical Romance in which Helena seems to be on the other side of the love story than Shakespeare wrote her. A heart breaker of many… in actuality it’s a song about the death of some of the band members’ grandmother. Their hearts are broken because she’s gone. 🙁 Nickel Creek also has a beautiful song titled “Helena”. Foster the People have a song called “Helena Beat”.
I wish I could say Saint Helena is my favorite vacation spot but alas, I’ve never been. The island’s motto is “Loyal and Unshakable”. The island is named for the Catholic saint and mother of Roman Emperor Constantine the Great. She is the Patron Saint of New Discoveries, my gosh do I love that!
The Helena River is a major river in Perth, Australia, which is my number 1 place I am determined to travel to. I’ve seen every Australian state except Western Australia, but mark my words, I’ll see it!
Helena Cobban is a writer who’s works have helped people understand issues faced in the middle east and as all we know knowledge is power… educating people on issues allows for peace, help and understanding. She has also started her own book publishing company.
Helena Devereux founded the Devereux foundation which staffs 6,000 educators and helps millions of those with special needs and their families. A pioneer in special education, she started her first school in 1912 with just $100.
It would appear this is not even close to a complete list of all the notable Helenas… but I think my point has been made. It’s great, the end.