|Play A Midsummer Night's Dream|
|Movies A Midsummer Night's Dream, Anonymous, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Table for Three|
Played by Mickey Rooney, Stanley Tucci, Lindsay Kemp, Arthur Mitchell, Craig Salisbury
Similar Oberon, Hermia, Demetrius, Lysander, Titania
Puck is a clever, mischievous elf, sprite or jester that personifies the wise knave. In the play, Shakespeare introduces Puck as the "shrewd and knavish sprite" and "that merry wanderer of the night"; he is a jester to Oberon, the fairy king. Puck and Bottom are the only two characters who interact and progress the three central stories in the whole play; Puck is the one who is first introduced in the fairies' story and creates the drama of the lovers' story by breaking up a young couple lost in an enchanted forest, as well as by replacing Bottom's head with that of an ass. Similarly, Bottom is performing in a play intending it to be presented in the lovers' story, as well as interacting with Titania in the fairies' story.
Appearances in the play
The audience is introduced to Puck in Act 2 Scene 1 when one of Titania's fairies encounters Puck and he replies:
Puck is Oberon's servant sent by Oberon, who is angry with Titania the fairy queen because he could not have the Indian boy/slave, so Puck is sent to fetch the flower that has been hit by cupid's arrows. Puck is then instructed by Oberon to use the love flowers juices to fix the love entanglement occurring between the Athenian lovers who also happen to be running about in the forest. He mistakenly administers the charm to the sleeping Lysander instead of Demetrius. Puck provides Nick Bottom with a donkey's head so that Titania will fall in love with a beast and forget her attachment to the Changeling Boy, allowing Oberon to take the child from her. (Oberon does so successfully.) Later, Puck is ordered by Oberon to fix the mistake Puck made, by producing a dark fog, leading the lovers astray within it by imitating their voices, and then applying the flower to Lysander's eyes, which will cause him to fall back in love with Hermia. The four lovers are then made to believe that they were dreaming what took place in the forest (hence the play's title A Midsummer Night's Dream). At the end of the play (Act 5 Scene 1) Puck delivers a speech in which he addresses the audience directly, apologizing for anything that might have offended them and suggesting that they pretend it was a dream:
Name of character
The original texts of Shakespeare's plays do not have cast lists, and can sometimes be inconsistent about what they call characters, but he is a particularly awkward case. Both the Quarto and the First Folio call him "Robin Goodfellow" on the first entrance, but call him "Puck" later in the same scene, and they remain inconsistent. The Arden Shakespeare decides to call him "Puck", and amends all stage directions (but not actual dialogue) that call him "Robin" or "Robin Goodfellow".