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Ian Bradshaw A Spry Spirit of the Night A Midsummer Nights Dream contains some wonderfully lyrical expressions of lighter Shakespearean themes most notably those of love imagination and dreams What makes A Midsummer Nights Dream a wonderful play is not the comical aspect of its story but its unique lyrical qualities If A Midsummer Nights Dream can be said to convey one message it is that the creative imagination is in tune with the supernatural world and is best used to confer the blessings of nature upon mankind and marriage One of the more interesting characters in A Midsummer Nights Dream is the mischievous fairy Puck also known as Robin Goodfellow Pucks interesting past and sometimes seemingly ambiguous lines make this spirit seem both confusing and overly complex to anyone uninformed of Greek and Roman mythology What might surprise some people is that Puck and Robin Goodfellow were not original creations of Shakespeare but existed independently long before his play Shakespeare most likely drew upon what hed heard from folklore and perhaps studied what had been already written about Puck and Robin Goodfellow before creating his own interpretation of the two Parallel words exist in many ancient languages - Puca in Old English Puki in Old Norse Puke in Swedish Puge in Danish Puks in Low German Pukis in Latvia and Lithuania -- mostly with the original meaning of a demon devil or evil and malignant spirit This similarity makes it uncertain whether the original Puca sprang from the imaginative minds of the Scandinavians the Germans or the Irish Edwards p143 As a shape-shifter Puck has had many appearances over the years One Irish story has him as an old man Hes been pictured like a brownie or a hobbit In some paintings he looks like Pan from Greek mythology In others he looks like an innocent child Puck uses his shape-shifting to make mischief For example the Phouka would turn into a
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