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Home :: Archive :: 1998 :: November ::
Re: Puck and MND
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 9.1092  Thursday, 5 November 1998.

[1]     From:   Jerry Bangham <
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        Date:   Wednesday, 4 Nov 1998 15:48:23 -0600
        Subj:   RE: SHK 9.1085  Re: Puck and MND

[2]     From:   Kenneth Requa <
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        Date:   Wednesday, 4 Nov 1998 21:12:04 EST
        Subj:   Re: SHK 9.1082  MND


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Jerry Bangham <
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 >
Date:           Wednesday, 4 Nov 1998 15:48:23 -0600
Subject: 9.1085  Re: Puck and MND
Comment:        RE: SHK 9.1085  Re: Puck and MND

> I think that, in one sense, Puck is the actor who subverts the
> established authority of the Elizabethan state.

Dr. Valerie Lucas presented a paper on her experiences presenting MND on
the West Bank a couple of years at the IFTR Conference in Puebla. She
mentioned that her audiences were not at all amused by Puck. They found
his defiance of authority extremely offensive.

Jerry Bangham

[2]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Kenneth Requa <
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 >
Date:           Wednesday, 4 Nov 1998 21:12:04 EST
Subject: 9.1082  MND
Comment:        Re: SHK 9.1082  MND

6. Think of the moment when the play balances literally on a knife edge
when Demetrius draws on Lysander - think what MIGHT happen next?

A lot of things MIGHT happen next.  But the same question can be asked
of almost ANY story.  We must accept the fact that the two do not kill
each other and not ask why.  The why is that if they did the play would
be over.  Its a simple example of character serving plot over plot
serving character.

7. If this play is a comedy, then what is your definition of comedy?

The term comedy, as applied to this play (or any other by WS) is a weak
label, applied only by those scholars who insist on labeling
everything.  The only true definition of comedy in Shakespeare is a play
in which nobody dies.  While we are all aware of the similarities and
differences among all of his plays, the traits commonly intermingle.
Tragedy seems to be a more easily defined genre, but Shakespeare's
comedy often comes too close to tragedy for me to be satisfied with the
label.

 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? . . .Or are
we going to hide behind the call-on tradition that all Puck is doing is
begging the audience for their applause?

To some extent, you have to.  Forget not that Shakespeare was first an
entertainer, a man of the theater.  His language and themes were the
vehicle for this entertainment.  However, this speech is not devoid of
meaning.  Puck, to me, seems merely content.  He is pleased with his own
mischievousness and knows that, despite Oberon's present bliss, there
will be more opportunities for trouble-making.

Puck could be Jim Carrey, Al Pacino, Chris Rock, or even Danny DeVito,
depending on what kind of mood the rest of the play is set in.
Discussion of Puck as an individual is not an issue.  One must discuss
him in the context of the play.  If Oberon is wearing a headdress and a
loin cloth Puck would be played differently than if Oberon is in a
nightgown.
 

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