Jacob, TC, and Ronak's A Midsummer Night's Dream
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Historical: The role of Puck in A Midsummer’s Night Dream

Historical: The role of Puck in A Midsummer’s Night Dream | Jacob, TC, and Ronak's A Midsummer Night's Dream | Scoop.it
Jacob DiSpirito's insight:

Throughout the play, the fairy character Puck, is presented as a trickster. This type of character has been used throughout literature for hundreds of years. Many literary critics believe his name was derived from  “Pouk” which was a typical medieval term for the devil. As expressed in a historical writing by Ana Isabel Bordas del Prado, Puck was seen in many different forms from frightening monsters to a small creature. Ana wrote,“As a shape-shifter, Puck had many appearances, and he used them to make mischief.” There is debate, however, as to whether or not Puck actually is a trickster. The definition of a trickster varies with culture. In the African culture, a trickster is often seen as humorous, and are usually weak and small (like puck), but use with to defeat larger opponents. In Shakespeare's writings, tricksters are either antagonists (like Puck) or cleaver characters who overcome great challenges (The Fool in King Lear).


 

Bordas Del Prado, Ana I. "The Role of Puck in A Midsummer’s Night Dream."The Role of Puck in A Midsummer’s Night Dream. University of Valencia, 2006. Web. 17 Dec. 2014.

 

 

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Image: A Midsummer Night's Dream

Image: A Midsummer Night's Dream | Jacob, TC, and Ronak's A Midsummer Night's Dream | Scoop.it
Jacob DiSpirito's insight:

Visualization is a incredibly useful when trying to understand pieces of literature, especially when it comes to Shakespeare. Shakespearean plays are written in complex similes and metaphors that some find hard to understand, but a visual representation of the passage can help readers understand what is happening in the play. The image above focuses mostly on the events that occur in Act 3 of the play, but do include details from other parts of the play. The illustration shows the two sets of couples roaming the woods on a starry evening. Towards the bottom-right hand corner of the image shows Titania, Queen of the Fairies, laying against Bottom, whom is an ass. Due to the vivid details of the image, the observer can understand that Titania is deeply in love with Bottom. Titania's facial expression and the way that she is holding Bottom easily expresses to the observer that she is madly in love with him. In the image, around Titania are a few of her fairies: Cobweb, Mustardseed, Peaseblossom, and Mote. The most significant part of the image is Oberon, who is located at the top of the image. The illustrator drew two faces of Oberon, where one looks at the two couples and the other looks at Titania and Bottom. The face that looks at the couple also has his arms extended, which represents how he controlled the couple's love. It wasn't until Oberon ordered Puck to put the juice of the flower in Demetrius's eye that the couples were all mixed up. Oberon caused Lysander to fall in love with Helena which caused problems to arise between Lysander and Hermia's relationship. Also, going into the forest Demetrius couldn't stand Helena, but because Oberon had Puck put the juice of the flower on his eyes he now loved her. Oberon controlled the two couples, which the observer can see through Oberon's arms extended towards them. The other Oberon face that looks at Titania shows how Oberon watched her humiliate herself. Due to the facial expression of Oberon observers are able to easily see that this brought joy to Oberon. The artist of this image let observers know exactly what was going on in the play. 

 

Oparina, Anna. A Midsummer Night's Dream. 2013. Deviant Art. Web. 15 Dec. 2014.

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Video: A Midsummer Night's Dream - 1935 "Puck, Oberon's Servant" - YouTube

A Midsummer Night's Dream (1935) Puck - Elf , Oberon's servant."

Jacob DiSpirito's insight:

After witnessing Demetrius rudely reject Helena, Oberon feels bad for her so he orders Puck to put some of the juice from the magic flower on the eyes of Demetrius. The juice from the flower is magical because when applied to someone’s eyes, they then fall immediately in love with the first thing they see. Puck, however, did not see the scene between Helena and Demetrius take place, so Oberon tells Puck that he will know the man, "By the Athenian garments he hath on" (2.1.251). The video, from the 1935 version of A Midsummer Night's Dream, shows Puck placing the juice from the flower on the man with Athenian clothes. However, Puck was unaware that there were two Athenian men roaming the woods, so he anoints Lysander's eyes with the juice from the flower, not on Demetrius's. Although most of the film stays faithful to the original play, this scene of the video does not. Even though they both have mostly the same lines, the movie shows Puck apply the juice on Lysander’s eyes and then immediately after he goes and finds Oberon, while in the play Puck places the juice on Lysander’s eyes in Act 2, but does not encounter Oberon again until Act 3.

 

"A Midsummer Night's Dream - 1935 "Puck, Oberon's Servant" YouTube. YouTube, 12 Feb. 2011. Web. 14 Dec. 2014.

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Literary Criticism: Oberon and Masculinity in Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream

Literary Criticism: Oberon and Masculinity in Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream | Jacob, TC, and Ronak's A Midsummer Night's Dream | Scoop.it

(2013). Oberon and Masculinity in Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream. ANQ: A Quarterly Journal of Short Articles, Notes and Reviews: Vol. 26, No. 3, pp. 157-160.

Jacob DiSpirito's insight:

Oberon and Masculinity in Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, written by Lisa Walters, discusses the role of gender in ruling. In A Midsummer Night’s Dream  Athen’s is a patriarchal domain, a social system where men hold primary power, ruled by Theseus. Walters, along with other scholars, interpret the forest outside of Athens as a comparable patriarchy ruled by Oberon, the king of the fairies. It is seen as a brief rebellion against Oberon’s  wishes when Titania does not give Oberon the changeling even after he demanded it. This rebellious act is not typically seen during this time because the men are supposed to be dominant and rule over women in society. Walters explains, “Titania’s refusal to obey Oberon is the action of a rebellious and unruly wife against her husband’s authority. Hence, in his drugging of Titania, Oberon parallels Theseus, who 'wooed' Hippolyta with his ‘sword,/And won [her] love, doing [her] injuries’: two instances when a restoration of order comes about by causing “injuries” to female queens.” Walters is explaining how both Oberon and Theseus seek to re-stabilize the patriarchal ordering of the public and domestic domains. Oberon lacks control over Titania and therefore, uses trickery and manipulation to get what he wants. Oberon’s actions do not resemble Theseus in this situation, but they bear a closer resemblance to Renaissance perceptions of women as unruly, disorderly, and untrustworthy. Walters later explains that Oberon does not conform to the ideal models of masculinity in the Renaissance because he is able to exert control as a husband and king only through deception of his wife. Walters also discusses how the coupling of Titania with Bottom carries a marked political charge. Bottom is a weaver, and this trade at the time carried a well known reputation for political rebellion. Throughout A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Shakespeare mentions several female-governed communities, one of them being Fairy land. Walters says, “Not only does Shakespeare provide numerous references to female-governed spaces; he also demonstrates what occurs to men when they are immersed within them. For example, Bottom is silenced and dominated by Titania, Demetrius is aggressively pursued and chased by Helena, while Oberon causes disorder within Titania’s realm.” Walters is explaining that when men are put into a community with a matriarchy form of society, they are silenced and easily controlled. Walters continues to discuss how A Midsummer Night’s Dream interrogates gender categories in relation to power. The author says, “When comparing the domains of Theseus and Titania, matriarchal and patriarchal modes of power oscillate back and forth throughout the play as well as gender roles, destabilizing male/female categories. Initially in the text, matriarchy is subdued, as Amazons are conquered by Theseus; then patriarchy is confounded, as Oberon’s love potion thwarts the rule of Egeus and Theseus; then again is matriarchy subverted as Oberon drugs Titania. These contrasting models of power create complex layers of gender confusion and distortion in a manner not unlike Shakespeare’s other comedies…” What Walters is explaining is how the gender roles fluctuate throughout the play as sometimes men rule, while in other circumstances women are able to rule over men. Walters begins to conclude in saying that she believes Oberon serves as a figure of masculine disorder. Lisa Walters in the criticism discussed very valid and accurate arguments that helped better the understanding of A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Walters explained how, “the power dynamics of the world of Titania and Oberon provide a more complex representation

of gender and sexuality than criticism has heretofore acknowledged.”

 

Walters, Lisa. "Oberon and Masculinity in Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream." Taylor & Francis. 12 Aug. 2013. Web. 15 Dec. 2014

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Source: Oberon.

Source: Oberon. | Jacob, TC, and Ronak's A Midsummer Night's Dream | Scoop.it
Jacob DiSpirito's insight:

Although A Midsummer's Night Dream's plot was created entirely by Shakespeare himself, there are some characters and concepts within the play that he did not originally create. Shakespeare, in many of his plays, used sources written by others and then seamlessly weaved them into his own writings. Pyramus and Thisbe, a source in both A Midsummer Night's Dream and Romeo and Juliet, were originally created in Ovid's Metamorphoses. Another character that Shakespeare did not create himself was Oberon, King of the Fairies. Lord Berners' translation of Huon de Bordeaux provided the name Oberon and the fairy element for A Midsummer's Night Dream. In Huon de Bordeaux, Oberon is a dwarf-king who lives in the woodlands. Oberon uses his magic powers to help the hero accomplish a seemingly impossible task. Oberon is not the only other character in A Midsummer Night’s Dream that was not originally created by Shakespeare. Chaucer’s The Cantebury Tales also provided a source of the play’s framework, where Duke Theseus married his Amazonian bride. Many other characters and even concepts from A Midsummer Night's Dream did not originate from Shakespeare himself. 

 

"Oberon." Merriam-Webster's Encyclopedia Of Literature (1995): N.PAG. Literary Reference Center. Web. 15 Dec. 2014.

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