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Puck, or Robin Goodfellow, in Shakespeare’s Midsummer Night’s Dream is a type of character common in myth and oral tradition known as the “trickster”. He is a type of “puca” (woodland sprite) than in English folklore leads people astray in the woods. Sometimes he will do household chores for people. His most distinctive characteristic is mischievousness. Sometimes this mischief is relatively innocent or benign, but at other times can harm or frighten people. His intentions seem mainly to entertain himself, often by making fools of mortals. In the sense that he is a provider of entertainment for himself and others, he is analogous to the playwright whose creative efforts manipulate the spectators, and who, like Puck, is entertained by the effects of his own creations. Like the playwright, he can cheer, sadden, or terrify his audience.
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