A Midsummer Night’s Dream
1. The actions of the character ‘Puck’ in Shakespeare’s ‘A midsummer night’s dream’ affects the comedy of the play directly and completely reflects the Shakespearean world. Shakespeare portrays humor in numerous ways in his plays and this makes most of his plays successful.
‘A midsummer night’s dream’ is a cautious mixture of humor and love. There are two types of humor, one is plain humor that is added with the help of artisans in the play and the other is inferred humor, which is seen because of a funny character, Puck in this play. The artisans are not intelligent but they pretend to be and they mess up ith grammar and spelling, which results in mere confusion. By making silly mistakes of words they change the meaning of the sentence completely and in this way the audience enjoy the simple and plain comedy in the play. Shakespeare has made use of inferred humor with the help of a character Puck, who is a hyperactive child and gets into mischief every now and then.
2. Shakespeare has made use of the fools a lot in his plays and they are not only portrayed as jesters or fools but they are mediators and sometimes seem to be much more intelligent than the so-called masters. These fools add buoyancy to the story, humor at times of erious situations and also help to lighten the shadow of confusion caused by others. They have fewer dialogues but whatever they say has meaning and they say it with wit and sense. There are two fools in Shakespeare’s ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’, namely Mishra 2 Puck and Bottom where Bottom is portrayed for plain humor, Puck is for inferred humor. Also Puck is very mischievous and creates lot of confusion when he mistakenly puts the love juices in the eyes of Lysander instead of Demetrius.
A. ‘A midsummer night’s dream’ is one of the most popular plays of Shakespeare and is idely acted upon worldwide. It is actually a romantic comedy and the story is about the adventures of four Athenian lovers with a group of amateur actors. There are some supernatural powers and the effects of their mischief and above all the confusion created by them. Shakespeare has made his female characters enjoy much more freedom than they actually posses. Helena and Hermia escape into the woods where they do not come under the laws of Theseus or Egeus. Hermia elopes with her lover Lysander and Helena also follows her with Demetrius whom she loves a lot. So women are seen using courage nd guts in Shakespeare’s play for their love but the ultimate refuge and happiness for them is marriage.
Mainly there are three plots in the play that are interlocked and the main confusion is caused because Puck mistakenly puts the love juice in the eyes of Lysander who falls in love with Helena instead of Hermia. Because of all this, the four lovers quarrel with each other and in order to stop them from killing each other, Oberon orders Puck to keep them off from each other and re-charm Lysander for Hermia. When Oberon gets what he had asked from Titania, he releases her, Lysander is freed from the magic enchantment and Puck relieves Bottom from the ass’s head. But the magic is allowed to remain on the eyes of Demetrius so that Helena gets her lover in the end. As the whole night is spent in mere confusion and refuge in a forest full of supernatural powers, the lovers are made to think Mishra 3 the whole thing as a dream. In the end everyone retires to bed and Bottom awakes and thinks that he also had a dream. B. Puck, in Shakespeare’s ‘A midsummer night’s dream’ is in the real sense a fool, i. e. , a jestor whose job is to entertain the Fairy King, Oberon.
He is practically involved in the ngoing functions of the play and is seen making some intelligent observations regarding life and love. Puck is introduced to audience in ‘Act II Scene I’ with his encounter with one of Titania’s fairies and this interaction gives the audience an idea how mischievous and playful he is. Puck is given an assignment by Oberon in order to punish the Fairy Queen, Titania because he is angry with her. Oberon asks Puck to put the love juices in Titania’s eyes so that when she wakes up she falls in love with the first creature she sees. Also, Oberon wants to put right love problems of the lovers that are seen running about in he forest and so orders Puck to put some love juices in Demetrius’ eyes. Here Puck makes a mistake and puts the love juices in Lysander’s eyes which further causes lot of problems. Both, Lysander and Demetrius become madly in love with Helena and not with Hermia.
All these confusions and comic situations in the play are just because of the foolishness of Puck. C. Puck, in fact, does not take life seriously and believes in fun and mischief. He is also not serious in performing his duties and has airy and light attitude towards his responsibilities. While all the other characters are serious and busy dealing with problems nd confusions, Puck is almost relaxed and is enjoying everything, pulling pranks and dancing around. One of such example is when Puck puts an ass head on Bottom, which is just fun and nothing else. Puck is having fun and is playful throughout the play except in Mishra 4 the end when he sorts out all the problems and makes all believe that they must have experienced a dream. In the end Puck makes a direct speech to the audience and apologizes for anything that must have hurt somebody’s feelings and even suggests the audience to take everything as a dream. His speech is, If we shadows have offended, Think but this, and all is mended,
That you have but slumber’d here While these visions did appear. And this week and idle theme, No more yielding but a dream, Gentles, do not reprehend: If you pardon, we will mend: And, as I am an honest Puck, If we have unearned luck, Now to ‘scape the serpent’s tongue, We will make amends ere long; Else the Puck a liar call; So, good night unto you all. Give me your hands, if we be friends, And Robin shall restore amends. (Act V. Scene I) Mishra 5 Thus it is seen that throughout the play Puck is seen making fun, pulling pranks and dancing around like a fool but in the end he ties the audience with the play by just elivering one speech. He is quite intelligent and is totally aware of other’s feelings and understands love and life more than anyone else in the play. In fact Puck’s job is to entertain the Fairy King, Oberon with his tricks, pranks and jokes. His real name is Robin Goodfellow and his character in this play is a little bit similar to the mythological figure, Puck.
Just as all the confusion and problems arise due to Puck’s silly mistakes he sorts them out by creating fog and putting more of the flower in Lysander’s eyes which would reverse the effect. So in the end he succeeds in making all the others believe that they had ust experienced a dream and nothing that happened was in reality. Shakespeare used humor in his plays with the help of these jesters and clowns. In fact the fools in Shakespeare’s plays are a mixture of clown and the courtly fool or jester, that has both the qualities as to entertain the king and others with his foolish activities and to say truth in a witty or satirical manner. Where all the other people hesitated to point out King’s mistakes or misjudgment, Shakespearean fools spoke the truth without any fear.
They were characterized as very intelligent and sensitive but they pretended to be as fools ost of the time. This is seen in Shakespeare’s ‘A midsummer night’s dream’ in which Puck is a character whose job is to entertain the Fairy King and obey his orders. He actually has not much power in his hands and just carries on the orders of Oberon. He is typical of Shakespeare’s fools and is foolish and mischievous and at the same time intelligent and sensitive too. He is also made to parody the actions and speeches of other characters of the play towards the end of the play during the great fog just to carry on the Mishra 6 light humor a little more until the confusions are sorted out.