As supernatural beings, Oberon and Titania seem appropriately to be the top layer of the festival cake that is A Midsummer Night's Dream--but they spend most of their time wrangling in an all-too-human way.

They do seem, however, to have a profound influence over the human world, not only in the way that they intermingle with it through the magic juice, but in the way that their actions influence the very seasons of the year. Their argument, according to Titania, has frighteningly changed the world, in the way that the macrocosm of nature influences the human microcosm.

Puck seems to have less power, and to be nothing more than a michief-maker with a slightly bent sense of humour*. But this charming Shakespearean Puck, with broom*, hunting horn, and ears that look like the asses' ears he gave Bottom was actually more threatening as he was imagined by others in the period.

. . . those things do best please me
That befall prepost'rously
(3.2.120-21)

Close

I am sent, with broom, before,
To sweep the dust behind the door.
(5.1.388-89)

Close

Footnotes

  1. Bent humour?

    . . . those things do best please me
    That befall prepost'rously
    (3.2.120-21)

  2. Clean sweep

    I am sent, with broom, before,
    To sweep the dust behind the door.
    (5.1.388-89)