AS Comedy Titles• The course of love never did run smooth: Egues’s command, (Pyramus  and Thisbe,) the lovers (which never...
Putting the comedy in dramatic comedyWhat is the difference between these stock comic characters?     Trickster           ...
Putting the comedy into dramatic comedy            Learning Objective• How does Shakespeare establish the roles of  the Cl...
Robin Goodfellow, the Puck               Exploring characterisation  Our first encounter with the character of Puck is in ...
Robin Goodfellow, the Puck      The context of his characterHis name is Robin and he is a puck, a type of goblin. He is no...
Robin Goodfellow, the Puck                              Exploring characterisationLines          Action (in own words) Mis...
Robin Goodfellow, the Puck                             Exploring characterisationLines         Action (in own words) Misch...
The Trickster                                                       I am that merry wanderer of the night.                ...
The Trickster                                                       I am that merry wanderer of the night.                ...
Robin Goodfellow, the Puck                      Exploring characterisation      With one exception (the fairy in Act 2 Sce...
Robin Goodfellow, the Puck                Exploring characterisation• How does Robin’s character change over the  course o...
Robin Goodfellow, the Puck                A Trickster?Trickster: In European cultures, he is often a thief or liar, apract...
Putting the comedy into dramatic comedy• What is Robin Goodfellow’s function in this  dramatic comedy? Which elements of  ...
Putting the comedy in dramatic comedy            Learning Objective• How does Shakespeare establish the roles of  the Clow...
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Robin Goodfellow - The Trickster

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Robin Goodfellow - The Trickster

  1. 1. AS Comedy Titles• The course of love never did run smooth: Egues’s command, (Pyramus and Thisbe,) the lovers (which never feels too ominous and stays comic because of Oberon’s speech), Oberon and Titania and the happy ending.• What fools these mortals be: The fool in comedy – Puck’s role v’s Bottom’s role.• Fry’s World’s- The New World: the function of the different worlds, Oberon’s final speech and its links to the Green world, how resolved is the end – are we completely comfortable with the outcome? Why does it end with the player’s play and not the wedding?• How does the mechanical’s performance of Pyramus and Thisbe demonstrate the way dramatic comedy can show us truths about ourselves and the way we behave? “Love is essentially impractical and ridiculous” page 46 cambridge intro. , metatheatricality, Puck’s line “...these visions...”• The Green World represents disorder:
  2. 2. Putting the comedy in dramatic comedyWhat is the difference between these stock comic characters? Trickster FoolIn European cultures, he is often A silly or stupid person; a persona thief or liar, a practical joker who lacks judgment or sense. Theyand sometimes clever at are sometimes a person who hasdisguise. They delight in the Which of these been tricked or deceived intochaos and disorder they comic characters appearing or acting silly or stupid.manage. do we see in MSND? Clown JesterOften a person who does Makes his living by begging for tipscomical tricks, but is better for his jokes and songs; he is usuallydefined by the word ‘buffoon’. attached to a noble household. HisThe character is usually clumsy role is to deflate, through wit, theand unsophisticated. more pretentious attitudes of those in power.
  3. 3. Putting the comedy into dramatic comedy Learning Objective• How does Shakespeare establish the roles of the Clown and the Trickster in MSND?• What is each ones impact on the dramatic comedy?• How are their functions different?IMPORTANT: Character as ‘construction’ – not as ‘real’One of the main errors many students make in their discussion of texts is to presentstudies of characters in dramatic comdies as if they are somehow ‘real’, explainingtheir characteristics, personality and traits as if they actually exist, and somehowforgetting that they are a fictional construct. You should think about the way thedramatist (Shakespeare) constructs the character – using form, structure andlanguage. It may also be useful to consider their dramatic function in the play.
  4. 4. Robin Goodfellow, the Puck Exploring characterisation Our first encounter with the character of Puck is in Act 2 Scene 1 where the Fairy describes his character.• Read lines 2:1:32-41. Find as many verbs and adjectives as you can to help describe Puck’s character. What first impressions are we given of Puck? On Puck’s entrance, he describes himself to the audience.• Read 2:1:42-57. Add to your verb and adjective list. How does this add to our understanding of Puck’s character?
  5. 5. Robin Goodfellow, the Puck The context of his characterHis name is Robin and he is a puck, a type of goblin. He is nota fairy; the fairy in Act 2 Scene 1 certainly recognises him asdifferent from herself. Before Shakespeare, he was notclassified as a puck either, but as an earth spirit. In folklore healways carried a broom with him (as he seems to do in Act5, when he tells us “I am sent with broom before...”(5:1:379)so that he could help maids who had behaved well and sodeserved his assistance. He also took great interest in sortingout love conflicts, as in a fashion he does in MSND.His last name, Goodfellow, is a propitiatory coinage, given tohim by countryfolk who wished to flatter him into leavingthem alone.We need to remember that despite an overlay ofChristianity, people in this period were still verysuperstitious, believing in the work of fairies and little people.
  6. 6. Robin Goodfellow, the Puck Exploring characterisationLines Action (in own words) Mischief (add the quote Thoughtfulness Note on form here if it shows mischief) (add the quote here if it of speech shows thoughtfulness)2:1:32-582:1:175-6 Throughout the play, Puck’s actions reflect his role as a trickster.2:2:72-89 •Copy and complete the table looking at his actions3:1:60-63 over the course of the play. Forms of speech:3:1:88-93 •How do his actions reflect his role as a trickster? Are couplets, quatrai3:2:6-34 any of his actions not in fitting with this role? ns (four lines of3:2:38-40 verse), blank •Some directors have chosen to present the puck as a verse, prose.3:2:42 dark, malevolent character. What features of3:2:92-93 Shakespeare’s characterisation support this reading3:2:100-101 of the puck? •What is an alternative way of presenting the puck?3:2:110-115 (support with evidence please)3:2:118-121
  7. 7. Robin Goodfellow, the Puck Exploring characterisationLines Action (in own words) Mischief (add the quote Thoughtfulness Note on form here if it shows mischief) (add the quote here if it of speech shows thoughtfulness)2:1:32-582:1:175-62:2:72-893:1:60-633:1:88-933:2:6-343:2:38-403:2:423:2:92-933:2:100-1013:2:110-1153:2:118-121
  8. 8. The Trickster I am that merry wanderer of the night. I jest to Oberon, and make him smile, When I a fat and bean-fed horse beguile, ...you are that shrewd and knavish sprite Neighing in likeness of a filly foal; Calld Robin Goodfellow. Are not you he And sometime lurk I in a gossips bowl That frights the maidens of the villagery, In very likeness of a roasted crab, Skim milk, and sometimes labor in the quern, And, when she drinks, against her lips I bob, And bootless make the breathless housewife churn, And on her withered dewlap pour the ale. And sometime make the drink to bear no barm, The wisest aunt, telling the saddest tale, Mislead night-wanderers, laughing at their harm? Sometime for three-foot stool mistaketh me; (2:1:32-38) Then slip I from her bum, down topples she, And ‘tailor’ cries, and falls into a cough; And then the whole quire hold their hips and laugh... (2:1:42-58) Enter Robin [Goodfellow (Puck)] (3:1:60) Captain of our fairy band, [Re-enter Puck, and Bottom with an asss head] Helena is here at hand, (3:1:95)This is he, my master said, And the youth, mistook by meDespised the Athenian maid; Pleading for a lovers fee; Then will two at once woo one.And here the maiden, sleeping sound, Shall we their fond pageant see? That must needs be sport alone;On the dank and dirty ground. Lord, what fools these mortals be! And those things do best please mePretty soul! she durst not lie (3:2:110-115) That befall preposterously.Near this lack-love, this kill-courtesy. (3:2:118)Churl, upon thy eyes I throw I go, I go; look how I go,All the power this charm doth owe: Swifter than arrow from the Tartars bow.When thou wakest let love forbid (3:2:101) Ill put a girdle round about the earthSleep his seat on thy eyelid. In forty minutes(2:2:72-82) My mistress with a monster is in love (2:1:175) (3:2:30) And those I took him sleeping,—that is finishd too,—Then fate oer-rules, that, one man holding troth, And the Athenian woman by his side;(40) things pleaseA million fail, confounding oath on oath. That, when he waked, of force she must be eyed me best(3:2:91-92) (3:2:39-41) This is the woman, but not this the man. That happen (43) ridiculously.
  9. 9. The Trickster I am that merry wanderer of the night. I jest to Oberon, and make him smile, When I a fat and bean-fed horse beguile, Rhyming ...you are that shrewd and knavish sprite Neighing in likeness of a filly foal; Couplets Calld Robin Goodfellow. Are not you he And sometime lurk I in a gossips bowl Stage That frights the maidens of the villagery, In very likeness of a roasted crab, Skim milk, and sometimes labor in the quern, And, when she drinks, against her lips I bob, Directions And bootless make the breathless housewife churn, And on her withered dewlap pour the ale. Blank And sometime make the drink to bear no barm, The wisest aunt, telling the saddest tale, Mislead night-wanderers, laughing at their harm? Sometime for three-foot stool mistaketh me; Verse (2:1:32-38) Then slip I from her bum, down topples she, And ‘tailor’ cries, and falls into a cough; And then the whole quire hold their hips and laugh... (2:1:42-58) Enter Robin [Goodfellow (Puck)] (3:1:60) Captain of our fairy band, [Re-enter Puck, and Bottom with an asss head] Helena is here at hand, (3:1:95)This is he, my master said, And the youth, mistook by meDespised the Athenian maid; Pleading for a lovers fee; Then will two at once woo one.And here the maiden, sleeping sound, Shall we their fond pageant see? That must needs be sport alone;On the dank and dirty ground. Lord, what fools these mortals be! And those things do best please mePretty soul! she durst not lie (3:2:110-115) That befall preposterously.Near this lack-love, this kill-courtesy. (3:2:118)Churl, upon thy eyes I throw I go, I go; look how I go,All the power this charm doth owe: Swifter than arrow from the Tartars bow.When thou wakest let love forbid (3:2:101) Ill put a girdle round about the earthSleep his seat on thy eyelid. In forty minutes(2:2:72-82) My mistress with a monster is in love (2:1:175) (3:2:30) I took him sleeping,—that is finishd too,—Then fate oer-rules, that, one man holding troth, And the Athenian woman by his side;(40)A million fail, confounding oath on oath. That, when he waked, of force she must be eyed(3:2:91-92) (3:2:39-41) This is the woman, but not this the man. (43)
  10. 10. Robin Goodfellow, the Puck Exploring characterisation With one exception (the fairy in Act 2 Scene 1), Puck speaks only to Oberon and the audience. • What is the effect of this? Look at his final speech to support your views. Think about how this final speech might be staged. • How does Shakespeare use verse in Puck’s speeches? What might this suggest about his character?He seems almost to exist outside of the rest of the drama, unconstrained bythe actions and expectations of others. To some extent, the puck is ourrepresentative, carrying out the mischief we hope to enjoy, commenting on itand addressing us directly at the end.He is free to use a wide range of verse forms, couplets of various lengths andquatrains as well as blank verse, and he employs a wide range of tones.
  11. 11. Robin Goodfellow, the Puck Exploring characterisation• How does Robin’s character change over the course of the action of the play? Why might this be? Unlike Bottom, who aspires to play the hero, the love interest and the lion, the puck can actually become a foal, a crab, a stool, a horse, a dog, a hog, a bear and even a fire but he seems unaffected by his experiences and always remains the himself. Where the marriages change the mortals who undertake them as a pivotal part of their journey through life to death, the spirits are immortal, immaterial and incapable of development.
  12. 12. Robin Goodfellow, the Puck A Trickster?Trickster: In European cultures, he is often a thief or liar, apractical joker and sometimes clever at disguise. They delight inthe chaos and disorder they manage.•To what extent does Shakespeare draw on the conventions ofthe Trickster character in writing Robin Goodfellow? (Supportyour answer please) Puck could be described as a trickster figure. He is unpredictable, somewhat manic, and delights in the chaos and disorder he manages. He loves making mischief in the mortals’ world. The relationship between Oberon and Puck has some similarities to the relationships between other Shakespearian created kings and their fools, but Puck is no ordinary fool. Whereas other fools debate and test their masters, Puck does what he is asked.
  13. 13. Putting the comedy into dramatic comedy• What is Robin Goodfellow’s function in this dramatic comedy? Which elements of dramatic comedy does his character bring to the play? Puck has multiple functions within the comedy. On one level he is a manifestation of the evil malevolence of Oberon (representing a dark strand of the comedy) and he can sometimes make audiences feel uncomfortable. On another level he is playful – exhibiting the kind of bad behaviour we sometimes admire in others. He is enjoyed by the audience as one who brings fun, which he does without offending our conscience and our sense of identification with the victims. Puck is the instigator of mischief that leads to the disorder we expect to see in a dramatic comedy. He is a symbol of the Green World – a world of freedom, but also a world of confusion. He comments on the foolishness of human behaviour: “Lord, what fools these mortals be!” (3:2:115) and makes the situations more absurd for the Lovers and the Mechanicals, reflecting the idea that dramatic comedy highlights that the order of the world is a veneer that can easily be removed.
  14. 14. Putting the comedy in dramatic comedy Learning Objective• How does Shakespeare establish the roles of the Clown and the Trickster in MSND?• What is each ones impact on the dramatic comedy?• How are their functions different? Next lesson: Nick Bottom – to what extend does Shakespeare present him as a Clown?
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