Before we explore the character of Puck, in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, let us just remind you how you can explore a Shakespearean character in any of our published plays. If you haven’t tried out our techniques of using ‘Parts and Cues’ and ‘Highlit Text’ to explore a Shakespeare character, then you’ll find it helpful to read the detailed explanation we give for the character Hamlet (click on Let’s Explore Hamlet). You can explore any Shakespearean character in a play published by Players-Shakespeare.com in a similar way. Here we help you explore Puck, or Robin Goodfellow, Oberon’s right-hand man and jester.
Puck, or Robin Goodfellow
- Puck (and the fairies) first appear in A2S1, where Oberon and Titania fight over an Indian changeling boy. However we also learn a lot about Puck in this scene. He has two main speeches (see them in Parts and Cues format). In the first, we learn a lot about the struggle between Titania and Oberon, but in the second speech, we get a good idea of what Puck is like. Robin Goodfellow is a traditional folk character, who behaves as Puck describes.
- Puck appears in A2S2 and in A3S1, but his speeches seem aimed at moving the plot forwards rather than reveal his character. In A2S2 he puts flower juice on Lysander’s eyes, which results in him falling in love with Helena, and in A3S1, he puts an ass’s head on Bottom.
- A3S2 is Puck’s big scene. He brings Oberon up to speed with what has happened to Titania and Bottom, and then demonstrates and enjoys ‘what fools these mortals be’. It’s worth reading the whole scene in Parts and Cues mode, to focus on Puck, and then in Highlight Text to get the context of the whole scene.
- At the end of A5S1, after the Rude Mechanicals production of Pyramus and Thisbe, Puck has a major speech preparing for Oberon and Titania to bless the house of Theseus, and then, again, he ends the play by appealing for applause from the audience. See these lines in Act Five Scene One – Puck.
The scenes above should help you to come to a view about Puck’s character. Of course, by reading the scenes above, you may well see things differently from what I’ve outlined above, but you should know what you think about Puck.