Explication of A Midsummers Nights Dream

Erik Stiers
Dr. Barbour
English 335
March 1, 2002

Explication from A Midsummer Night’s Dream
In the beginning of Act 2 Scene 1 we are introduced to one of the main characters and quite possibly the most important. It is through Puck’s action that the plot of this play develops. Puck’s character begins to develop through a conversation between him and the fairy who is wondering if this is truly the Puck she has heard so much about. The Fairy asks Puck if he is otherwise known as Robin Goodfellow. The Fairy asks if he the same Puck who is known for playing pranks on the local villagers such as frightening the maidens, skimming the milk in the dairies, misleading night wanderers etc. Puck’s answer to this query helps to establish his character as a devious trickster.
After Puck’s answer to the Fairy:
“Thou speakest aright;
I am that merry wanderer of the night” (2,1,43)
He continues to brag about some of his practical jokes he has played. For example Puck tells the Fairy:
“Sometimes lurk I in a gossips bowl,
In the very likeness of a roasted crab,
And when she drinks, against her lips I bob,
And on her withered dewlap pour the ale.
The wisest, aunt telling the saddest tale,
Sometimes for a three foot stool mistaketh me,
Then slip I from her bum, down topples she” (2,1,47)
Here Puck is describing two different instances where he caused turmoil. The first is when Puck took the form of a roasted crab in a gossiper’s bowl of ale and when someone would went to drink from it he would bob against their lips spilling the ale all over. The second tale is when Puck would take the form of a stool and wait for an old women to sit. Just when she was about to sit he would remove the stool out from under her so the poor women would fall and everyone would laugh at her.
Not only does this conversation in Act 1 helps to develop Puck’s character but it also introduces the main plot for the play. Here we find out that Oberon is jealous of Titania’s attention and affection for her new page, the changeling boy. Because of his jealousy, Oberon devises a scheme to place Titania under a spell causing her to act like a fool. Oberon then plans on releasing her from this spell in the hopes of acquiring the page and regaining Titania’s love and affection.
In Act 1 Scene 2 line 60 Oberon and Titania enter. Early in this Scene we see bitterness emerge. Titania says:
“What jealous Oberon? Fairies skip hence,
I have forsworn his bed and company” (2,1,61)
By this Titania means for him to go away and Oberon’s response is:“Am I not thy lord”
Even with this response of dominance it is clear that Titania is mad at him and has no intentions of submitting to his will. They continue to argue for some time accusing each other of adultery. We see through this petty arguing the selfishness and possessiveness that one would think only prevalent in a lower “mortal” form of life. I think this makes the Fairies seem more real and human. We see the Fairies are prone to human problems, which make their mistakes later in the play more believable. The first Scene of Act two beautifully sets the plot for the rest of the play.