A Midsummer Night's Dream

Puck, as the Dark Middle Man

The character Puck, or Robin Goodfellow, is most often associated with the mischievous little hobgoblin fairy in Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream. Even before Shakespeare's interpretation of Puck though, the little imp had been one of the most popular characters in English folklore. Puck appears to be a minor character, and quite a nuisance with all his tricks and pranks in the play, but his role is necessary and even monumental. Shakespeare uses Puck as the intermediary in the play, connecting the play and the audience, the fairy world and the human world. Puck is also the only character in A Midsummer Night's Dream who addresses the audience directly, thus raising important questions about the play concerning love, fairies, the lovers' images of themselves, and whether they are real, or only a dream.

Puck as a trickster has both a comic and a darker role in the play. The origin of his various names exist in ancient languages mostly with the original meaning of demon, devil, or evil spirit, these names include "Puka in old English, Puki in Old Norse, Puke in Swedish, Puge in Danish, Puks in Low German, Pukis in Latvia and Lithuania, (Edwards, 143)." Puck is responsible for mocking humans,...

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