Puck as Dream Personified

In this masterfully crafted play (with the best play-within-a-play I have ever read) I found the fairies to be almost a metaphor for dreaming itself, especially the most well-known one—Puck. Puck/ Robin Goodfellow largely motivates the plot of the play. The play is titled a dream, and he is the moving force of this dream. Puck is whimsical; he can do things that people cannot with their physical bodies; Robin often does things that are taboo in society or “mischievous;” he is vital for the motion of the play; Puck has some randomness hinted at in his character; also, he is good overall, never causing any serious damage and helping humans often. These are all theoretical characteristics of dreaming. Dreaming is certainly whimsical for it can often seem exaggerations of the conscious world, also people either can physically do things they could not, or do things they simply usually would not in dreams. Robin Goodfellow is necessary for the movement of the plot, in this same way dreams must be somehow necessary for sleep, which is necessary for our bodies, because we dream the entire time we are sleeping. In the dreamer often doing things they would not, dreams are often associated with taboos. Things are done or images are presented which would not be in the conscious world of societal norms and restrictions. When we first meet Puck he is associated with mischief telling of how sometimes he disguises himself as a stool that old or fat women will go to sit on and than move so they fall. There is also a sexual implication here with the focus on women’s butts. However this mischief is dangerous and sometimes he gets overly viscous in mocking humans, like his opinion towards Bottom claiming “lord, what fools these mortals be.” Here we see he contains the dark-side of dreams. We can also see the random quality attributed to dreams, not usually in their totality but often partially. Puck is compared several times to the blind cupid, randomly shooting his arrows. He is often comic, speaking in metaphors to entertain his master Oberon; dreams often make one laugh either in them or upon looking bad. Most importantly, overall Puck is good. He resolves the problems he causes, brings lovers together, and helps make the wedding night a joyous one. In this same way we have seen that dreams often serve a helpful and positive purpose overall. Many scientific interpretations of dreams have shown their positive quality: whether it be expressing emotions required, compensating where needed, sorting out memories form the day and storing the helpful ones, or even storing the images which can help in evolution. While they have their dark sides, overall dreams are helpful; they have a therapeutic purpose for, the dreamer’s mind. Puck is more good than bad. Although he can cause problems, in the end: “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 weak and idle theme, / No more yielding but a dream, / Gentles, do not reprehend: / If you pardon we will mend. / Else the Puck a liar call. / Give me your hands, if we be friends, / And Robin shall restore amends.”

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