Shakespeare – Module 3: Shakespearean Comedy and A Midsummer Night’s Dream – 4 of 4

Hello Year 7 and Year 8! In the last blog post, you looked at a key scene from ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’. In this post, we will study a character more closely.

WHAT: analysing the character of Puck in detail.

By the end of this session you will be able to:

✓ summarise information about the character of Puck
✓ read and understand a monologue by Puck
✓ show empathy with Puck and re-tell the story from his perspective

Today you will need:

✎ A pen
☰ A word document, notepad or paper to record your ideas

STARTER- YOU DO: Look at the different pictures of Puck from different productions of ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’. Write down words or phrases to describe his character based on these pictures.

Read this summary of Puck:

Puck is Oberon’s servant. At the start of the play we find him showing off to another fairy about the mischievous tricks he’s played on humans. Oberon asks him to find a magic flower, the juice of which is used on the eyes of a sleeping person to make them fall in love with the first living thing they see when they wake up. Oberon then asks him to put some of the juice in Demetrius’ eyes but he puts it in Lysander’s by mistake which causes all kinds of problems. He then transforms Bottom’s head into an ass’s head. Using magic he overcasts the night and fixes all the issues. At the end of the play he talks directly to the audience in the epilogue.

Facts we learn about Puck at the start of the play:

He is mischievous and likes playing tricks on humans.

He is loyal to Oberon.

He is capable of great magic of his own.

YOU DO: Based on what you know about Puck, design your own costume for this character. You can use ideas from the pictures above or come up with completely new ones.

YOU DO: Read the scene summary and the speech from Puck below. There is even a modern translation to help you. When you have finished reading, answer the questions that follow.

A Summary of this Section of Act 2 Scene 2: Puck appears, carrying the flower whose juice will serve as the love potion. Oberon orders Puck to look for an Athenian man being followed by a lady and to put some of the juice on the man’s eyelids, so that when he wakes he will fall in love with the lady. He informs Puck that he will know the man by his Athenian clothes. Puck agrees to carry out his master’s wishes. Puck enters, complaining that he has looked everywhere but cannot find an Athenian man and lady. He is relieved when he finally finds Lysander and Hermia sleeping on the ground, assuming that they are the Athenians of whom Oberon spoke. Noticing that the two are sleeping apart, Puck decides that the man must have refused to let Hermia come closer to him. Calling him a “churl,” Puck spreads the potion on Lysander’s eyelids, and he departs.

PUCK: Through the forest have I gone.
But Athenian found I none,
On whose eyes I might approve
This flower’s force in stirring love.
Night and silence.–Who is here?
Weeds of Athens he doth wear:
This is he, my master said,
Despised the Athenian maid;
And here the maiden, sleeping sound,
On the dank and dirty ground.
Pretty soul! she durst not lie
Near this lack-love, this kill-courtesy.

Churl, upon thy eyes I throw
All the power this charm doth owe.
When thou wakest, let love forbid
Sleep his seat on thy eyelid:
So awake when I am gone;
For I must now to Oberon.

Modern Translation of this speech: I’ve been through the entire forest, but I haven’t found any Athenian man to use the flower on. (he sees LYSANDER and HERMIA on the ground) Wait a second, who’s this? He’s wearing Athenian clothes. This must be the guy who rejected the Athenian girl. And here’s the girl, sleeping soundly on the damp and dirty ground. Pretty girl! She shouldn’t lie near this rude and heartless man. (he puts flower juice on LYSANDER ’s eyelids) Fool, I throw all the power of this magic charm on your eyes. When you wake up, let love keep you from going back to sleep. Wake up when I’m gone, because now I have to go to Oberon.

1. Where does Puck look for the Athenians?

In the forest.

2. What item contains the love potion?

A flower

3. Why does Puck think that this is the man Oberon has sent him to find?

He is wearing Athenian clothes

4. What three insults does Puck use towards Lysander?

Lack- love, Kill- courtesy, Churl

5. Where does Puck put the potion?

Onto Lysander’s eyes

YOU DO- CREATIVE WRITING: Imagine you are Puck at the end of the play. Re-tell the events of the play from your perspective (in modern language). You might want to remind yourself of the plot first- you can use the links below. Send your writing to your English teacher!

Well done! You should now be confident to describe Puck’s character. Maybe you could tell someone at home about the things you have learned today…