A Midsummer Night\'s Dream: Role Of Puck

Darryl Chancey

The role and character of Puck, or Robin Goodfellow, in A Midsummer
Night\'s Dream, is not only entertaining but quite useful.
William Shakespeare seems to have created the character of Puck from his
own childhood. In Shakespeare\'s time it was believed that fairies and little
people did exist. Whenever something went wrong around the farmyard or house or
village, incidents such as buckets of milk ‘accidentally\' spilling over, or
tools suddenly disappearing, or doors opening for no reason, it was blamed on ‘
those damn little people!\'.
The idea of Puck\'s character is a lovely one. One can\'t help but be
attracted to him and his innocent, little pranks. He is also known by the name
Robin Goodfellow. The audience can only see this ‘Robin Goodfellow\' side of
Puck when he is trying to fix something he disrupted, hence the name Goodfellow
When compared to Oberon, King of the Fairies and Titania, Queen of the
Fairies and the remaining fairies of the play, Puck does not seem to fit in as
well. While Oberon and Titania belong to the forest and the world of dainty
fairies, a small village setting seems more appropriate for Puck. He is the
type of fairy that likes to be around mortals and cause them trouble, as opposed
to other fairies. This is why Puck\'s little job with a love potion and a young
couple is perfect for him and he perfect for the job.
Puck is a likable character who tends to create mischief around himself.
Everything is a game to crafty little Puck. Yet once he realizes that he has
caused a problem he will make sure to the best of his ability and power that it
is rectified. As in the scene with Hermia and Lysander, and Helena and
Demetrius. When Puck mistook Lysander for Demetrius (Shakespeare conveniently
had the characters look alike or ‘only slightly individualized\') and dropped the
love-juice into Lysander\'s eyes and then (with help from Oberon) realized what
he had done he knew he had to fix it.
Shakespeare conveniently created ‘Puck\' to add some probability to the
play. Since the typical audience believed in fairies and little people, Puck
could be convincing in his role. It is possibly, even today, more plausible to
have a little fairy running around causing problems than to have to try and
believe that fate and destiny were the cause of all the joy, sadness and badluck.

When William Shakespeare created ‘Puck\' it seems as though the play got
much more out of the character than intended. This is nice however, as the
audience we tend to like Puck and follow him in a light-hearted, amused manner.
The character of Puck keeps the play rolling and everything turns out well in
the end, unlike many other plays of Shakespeare.

Category: English