A Midsummer Night's Dream by William Shakespeare

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What can one conclude about Puck's physical description in Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream ?

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We might learn about a character from three sources: the playwright, the other characters, and the character him-/herself.

In A Midsummer Night's Dream, Shakespeare has nothing whatsoever to say about Puck, or any other character for that matter. He provides us with no character descriptions for any of the characters in any of his plays.

In A Midsummer Night's Dream, Shakespeare gives us a description of Puck through other characters, including Puck himself, shortly after Puck's first appearance in the play, in act 2, scene 1:

FAIRY: Either I mistake your shape and making quite,
Or else you are that...

(The entire section contains 2 answers and 828 words.)

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srmitchell | Student

Puck is usually portrayed as small, quick, and impish. He is described as a "sprite" by the fairy he meets in act 2, scene 1, which means he is a fairy or elf. In the same scene, he describes himself as being essentially Oberon's jester -- "I jest to Oberon, and make him smile" -- and while it is up to any given director to decide what that means for his appearance, a very common interpretation is to cast Puck as quirky and high-energy.

We know that Puck can move very fast, because he says that he will run around the world in 40 minutes to find an herb that Oberon has requested ("I'll put a girdle round about the earth/In forty minutes," act 2, scene 1). While this doesn't explicitly tell us his physical appearance, it does support the popular impression that he is small and fast.

We do know, however, that Puck can change his appearance at will. He says in the same scene:

"And sometime lurk I in a gossip's bowl
In very likeness of a roasted crab..."

"In very likeness" means "looking exactly like," so Puck is able to shape-shift.

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