The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 9.1082 Tuesday, 3 November 1998.
Date: Monday, 2 Nov 1998 19:06:45 +0000
In 'Dream' there are at least as interesting questions perhaps like:
1. Is Puck not more important than Theseus?
2. How much like Lear is Oberon at the start, how like Prospero at the
3. Is Puck a proto Ariel?
4. Is Egeus an early Lear?
5. Why is Lysander the only one of the lovers targeted for the
6. Think of the moment when the play balances literally on a knife edge
when Demetrius draws on Lysander - think what MIGHT happen next?
7. If this play is a comedy, then what is your definition of comedy?
8. Why is Puck so dejected at the end? So defensive? So SCARED? Read the
Epilogue; is he happy? or is he scared stiff? And why? Because when
Oberon needed him to wage war on Titania, he was wanted warmed by power
from the boss. Once the CEO makes it up
with Titania, then Puck is redundant as an instrument of mischief and
revenge - he ceases to ahve afunction, and is close to being cast into
outer darkness, but in this play without the benediction of the Oberon /
Prospero figure. Or are we going to hide behind the call-on tradition
that all Puck is doing is begging the audience for their applause?
9. Is there a coincidence that at the end of the two plays in which
Shakespeare treats of creatures with literally life-changing, universal
weather-changing powers (Oberon / Prospero) there is a servant / advisor
figure? In one, the advisor is desperately uncertain of his reception by
the audience? In the other it is the Prospero / mage-becoming-mortal
figure that is uneasy and begs for indulgence? And the advisor who is
liberated to the elements to be free? What's happening there?
I mean, stuff the 'triadic' significances, and tell me about the meat of
this so-called superficial play. MND is dynamite, under the guise of
fairydom and post Rackham whimsy and countless college plays with
simpering girls in tutus. For the Elizabethans, fairies were Other
World, dangerous, enigmatic, powerfully conscienceless, gleefully
mischievous. Unlike Dr Faustus where magic is merest cabaret, the magic
in this play is hugely disruptive, and transforming, life-changing and
So, people, tell me about PUCK!! Who is he?