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Lecture

A Midsummer Night's Dream - Analysis of Major Characters.docx

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Department
English
Course
ENGL 100A
Professor
Diana Parry
Semester
Winter

Description
Analysis of Major Characters Puck Though there is little character development in A Midsummer Night’s Dream and no true protagonist, critics generally point to Puck as the most important character in the play. The mischievous, quick- witted sprite sets many of the play’s events in motion with his magic, by means of both deliberate pranks on the human characters (transforming Bottom’s head into that of an ass) and unfortunate mistakes (smearing the love potion on Lysander’s eyelids instead of Demetrius’s). More important, Puck’s capricious spirit, magical fancy, fun-loving humor, and lovely, evocative language permeate the atmosphere of the play. Wild contrasts, such as the implicit comparison between the rough, earthy craftsmen and the delicate, graceful fairies, dominate A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Puck seems to illustrate many of these contrasts within his own character: he is graceful but not so saccharine as the other fairies; as Oberon’s jester, he is given to a certain coarseness, which leads him to transform Bottom’s head into that of an ass merely for the sake of enjoyment. He is good-hearted but capable of cruel tricks. Finally, whereas most of the fairies are beautiful and ethereal, Puck is often portrayed as somewhat bizarre looking. Indeed, another fairy mentions that some call Puck a “hobgoblin,” a term whose connotations are decidedly less glamorous than those of “fairy” (II.i.40). Nick Bottom Whereas Puck’s humor is often mischievous and subtle, the comedy surrounding the overconfident weaver Nick Bottom is hilariously overt. The central figure in the subplot involving the craftsmen’s production of the Pyramus and Thisbe story, Bottom dominates his fellow actors with an extraordinary belief in his own abilities (he thinks he is perfect for every part in the play) and his comical incompetence (he is a terrible actor and frequently makes rhetorical and grammatical mistakes in his speech). The humor surrounding Bottom often stems from the fact that h
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