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Shakespeare - A Midsummer Nights Dream: Oberon often describes Puck as a, 'mad spirit,'(act 3:2). In what ways does his reputation and behaviour support that description?

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Introduction

Claire Wightman Miss Beeson Shakespeare A Midsummer Nights Dream: Oberon often describes Puck as a, `mad spirit,'(act 3:2). In what ways does his reputation and behaviour support that description? A Midsummer Nights dream is a play written in the late fifteenth century by Shakespeare for a nobleman's wedding. However this was not just any wedding it was one, which Queen Elizabeth the first would be attending. Consequently we could say that the play was `tailor written,' for its purpose; It is nothing solemn nor serious but a romance with a touch of magic and comedy so an over emphasis on love would not offend the virgin queen. This is why Puck became the perfect, `tool' for Shakespeare. Puck, a traditional character in English folklore also commonly known as, `Robin Goodfellow' was thought of as a mischievous spirit, a cunning shape shifter who was a practical joker. At heart, however people thought of Puck as a friendly spirit sympathetic to mortals. Mad is defined as somebody who is out of ones mind, insane, and wildly foolish so does this also define Puck? ...read more.

Middle

Lord, what fools these mortals be." This shows a level of sensitivity to them although it is clear he does not like their ignorance. He shows genuine remorse for his mistakes though on the other hand this could be interpreted to mean he regrets displeasing his master. Nonetheless many more of Puck's actions throughout the play can also be used as evidence to prove his madness. Most importantly is the language adopted by Shakespeare. At the beginning of the play Puck is used by Shakespeare as an `agent' or `tool' to be an intermediary to the audience. This means he introduces the difference between the fairy and human world, draws attention to the plot, locations and settings which is illustrated in line 28 act 2:1: "And now they never met in grove, or green, by fountain clear, or spangled starlight sheen" These quite narrative parts are written in a pattern of a,a,b,b,c,c rhyming couplets to sound more magical and show difference between the fairy world and reality. Imagery is used to emphasise the magic and mystical tones in the fairy realm. ...read more.

Conclusion

sweet Pyramus here, when in that moment, so it came to pass, Titania wak'd and straight away lov'd an ass" The tone of this shows that Puck is not only gloating and bragging but is proud of his actions. In line 43 act 2:1 Puck admits his guilt: "I am that merry wanderer of the night, I jest to Oberon and make him smile." In conclusion I do not think that Puck is a mad spirit, as his general behaviour does not back up this description. Firstly nothing suggests that Puck is insane though on some occasions, i.e. his attack on Bottom show a lack of judgement. Nonetheless his reputation as Robin Goodfellow states that overall his is a warm hearted spirit. Pucks pranks are not wildly foolish as they do not endanger anybody nor cause long lasting harm. The true reality is that it is Oberon's persistent meddling with other people's lives that causes Puck to create havoc in the human world. It is a consequence of his ties with Oberon that he is used as a scapegoat to cover up Oberon's own foolishness when really Puck is just a slightly mischievous spirit. ...read more.

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