The term "Puck's Apostasy" is used in an Emily Dickinson poem. What is Puck's role in A Midsummer Night's Dream and what might be his "apostasy"?
2 Answers | Add Yours
The poem you're referring to is Dickinson's "The Way to know the Bobolink". Here are the first three stanzas:
The Way to know the Bobolink
From every other Bird
Precisely as the Joy of him --
Obliged to be inferred.
Of impudent Habiliment
Attired to defy,
At times to Majesty.
Of Sentiments seditious
Amenable to Law --
As Heresies of Transport
Or Puck's Apostacy.
It's an almost child-like poem, written in ballad meter (a line of iambic pentameter followed by a line of iambic trimeter) and, I suppose, to answer your question, there are two key things you need to know.
Firstly, it's that the "Bobolink" is a type of fast-moving, small blackbird, and that - as the first stanza states - Dickinson (in more than one poem) uses it as a symbol of joy and energy.
Secondly, "apostacy" is a term used when people turn away from or reject their former religion. Quite how Puck can be considered to forego religion - or, in some more metaphorical sense, turn away from something - is where it becomes interesting. Is that he gets Oberon's orders (to put the love-juice on Demetrius' eyes) wrong - and then enjoys his mistake? Is it perhaps, his turn to the audience at the end of the play?
It's not, I would argue, a question to do with Puck's role in the play, his potential for mischief, for trickery and trouble-causing and for glee in the face of pain and mayhem, but more to do with precisely what might be his "apostacy".
Puck plays a humorous role in A Midsummer Night's Dream. He is a fairy who causes mischeif in the forest. When he is asked to annoint the eyes of Demetrius with a flower so that he will fall in love with Helena he mistakingly annoints the eyes of Lysander. This is what causes the conflict throughout the rest of the play.
Join to answer this question
Join a community of thousands of dedicated teachers and students.Join eNotes