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LITERARY CRITICISM: In his criticism of "A Midsummer Night's Dream", Robert C. Evans focuses on discussing Puck, or Robin Goodfellow. He explains how "part of the problem of dealing with any figure as a trickster is the problem of defining that crucial term". He goes on to say that there are many debates among scholars about the issue. Scholars see the trickster to have many different characteristics. Puck, in "A Midsummer Night's Dream", "fits the various criteria that scholars have proposed as the common characteristics of tricksters". Puck is described by fairies in the play as "shrewd" and "knavish", an assertion that shows that he is a trick-player and deceiver. He has a tendency to "misled night-wanderers" and laugh at their harm, which links him to traits of comedy and wit and makes him a "malicious practical joker". He describes himself as a "merry wanderer of the night", linking himself to the "restlessness that has often been seen as a common trait of many tricksters. Robert C. Evans points out that Puck is a shap-shifter and links him with gender multiplicity, both characteristics of tricksters. Evans describes the scene where Puck accidentally placed the love-juice from the flower that Oberon had intended for Demetrius into the eyes of Lysander. Puck frustrated Oberon, "confounded Oberon's good intentions toward Helena, and produced comic romantic mayhem". Puck showed off his tendency to bumble and make mistakes. Puck went off to fix his mistake and when he returned, he pronounced, "Lord, what fools these mortals be!" Evans said that Puck was eager to mock the "mortals" or humans in the "presence of the Fairy King" because he was driven "in part by his desire to obfuscare his own recent foolishness". Puck, as Evans stated is a complex character who displays many characteristics that scholars have determined classify and characterize tricksters.
Evans, Robert C. ""This Sport Well Carried Shall Be Chronicled": Puck as Trickster in Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream." Bloom's Literary Reference Online. Chelsea House Publishing, 2010. Web. 24 Feb. 2013.