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Home :: Archive :: 1998 :: November ::
Re: Puck and MND
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 9.1085  Wednesday, 4 November 1998.

[1]     From:   Penelope Rixon <
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        Date:   Tuesday, 3 Nov 1998 14:23:35 -0000
        Subj:   Re: SHK 9.1082  MND

[2]     From:   Sean Lawrence <
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        Date:   Tuesday, 03 Nov 1998 07:25:18 -0800
        Subj:   Re: SHK 9.1082  MND

[3]     From:   Timothy Peterson <
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        Date:   Tuesday, 3 Nov 1998 12:37:20 -0800 (PST)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 9.1082  MND

[4]     From:   W. L. Godshalk <
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        Date:   Tuesday, 03 Nov 1998 17:32:53 -0500
        Subj:   Re: SHK 9.1082  MND

[5]     From:   Dale Lyles <
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        Date:   Tuesday, 3 Nov 1998 20:00:20 EST
        Subj:   Re: SHK 9.1082  MND

[6]     From:   Richard Regan <
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        Date:   Tuesday, 3 Nov 1998 23:54:12 EST
        Subj:   Re: SHK 9.1082  MND


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Penelope Rixon <
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Date:           Tuesday, 3 Nov 1998 14:23:35 -0000
Subject: 9.1082  MND
Comment:        Re: SHK 9.1082  MND

I think that, in one sense, Puck is the actor who subverts the
established authority of the Elizabethan state.  Like Elizabethan actors
he's nominally a servant of authority  but with his own agenda, one
which he furthers when he can.  His function in the epilogue is not
simply to beg for applause; instead, he's making clear the link between
his fairy identity and his role in the 'real' world where he has played
and will play other roles for the regular audience, roles which may
cause people to understand the injustice of the social system they live
in.  He offers you the chance to agree that the play has been a
worthless piece of escapism, but also to challenge that verdict.  The
Pyramus and Thisbe play has exposed for us the hypocrisy of the rulers
and the way they exploit the ruled, among other things, and Puck offers
the final comment this play makes on the nature of plays and playing

Penny Rixon

[2]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Sean Lawrence <
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Date:           Tuesday, 03 Nov 1998 07:25:18 -0800
Subject: 9.1082  MND
Comment:        Re: SHK 9.1082  MND

> So, people, tell me about PUCK!! Who is he?

The OED notes that "the pook" was used by (I think) the Wycliffite Bible
to indicate the devil.  The sources and analogues book, by someone named
Sidgwick, I believe, includes a tale of Robin Goodfellow that casts him
in a different light.

Cheers,
Sean.

[3]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Timothy Peterson <
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Date:           Tuesday, 3 Nov 1998 12:37:20 -0800 (PST)
Subject: 9.1082  MND
Comment:        Re: SHK 9.1082  MND

> 5. Why is Lysander the only one of the lovers targeted for the
> lovejuice?

I've always found the most fascinating aspect of MND to be its main
theme: the blurry line between reality and fantasy.  Are the lovers'
troubles really resolved?  At the end of the play, Lysander is in love,
but only because he's still under the lovejuice's spell.  He believes
he's in love.  Is that enough?  Does it matter?  What does MND say about
the nature of love, or reality?

[4]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           W. L. Godshalk <
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Date:           Tuesday, 03 Nov 1998 17:32:53 -0500
Subject: 9.1082  MND
Comment:        Re: SHK 9.1082  MND

>5. Why is Lysander the only one of the lovers targeted for the
>lovejuice?

I can answer this one!  He isn't. Demetrius gets juiced too, and he does
not have the effects of the juice removed. Demetrius ends the play with
drug-impaired vision.

Hermia and Helena, on the other hand, do not have their vision altered.
But Titania does.

Yours, Bill Godshalk

[5]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Dale Lyles <
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Date:           Tuesday, 3 Nov 1998 20:00:20 EST
Subject: 9.1082  MND
Comment:        Re: SHK 9.1082  MND

In our production last fall, he was the source of the psychosexual
energy running underneath the entire play.  And at the end, when he
released the audience from his spell, the entire set vanished, leaving
only the bare theatre.

Dale Lyles
Newnan Community Theatre Company

[6]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Richard Regan <
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Date:           Tuesday, 3 Nov 1998 23:54:12 EST
Subject: 9.1082  MND
Comment:        Re: SHK 9.1082  MND

I like the questions about MND posed by Stuart Manger, but would add:

Who is/are the operant powers of MND and The Tempest? This would get us
into the real identity of Puck, who together with Oberon is/are
surrogates for Shakespeare the magic artist playing with the destinies
of his characters in the green world. (They are matched in a pedestrian
way by Philostrate and Theseus in Athens.)

Puck and Oberon are the two sides of the comic artist. Oberon brings
peace to the lovers, while Puck engenders laughable discord. Puck is the
dangerous side of comedy: Groucho Marx observed that an old lady in a
runaway wheelchair is funny only if you use a real old lady.

Richard Regan
Fairfield University
 

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