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A Midsummer Night’s Dream

William Shakespeare

Key Questions and Answers

Summary Key Questions and Answers

4) Why does Puck delight in causing chaos and confusion?

Puck delights in causing chaos and confusion because he’s a fairy, and according to tradition causing mischief is exactly what fairies do. Puck in particular has achieved fame for his many mischievous exploits. The audience gets a sense for Puck’s legendary status in Act II, when an unnamed fairy recognizes him and talks excitedly about some of his most well-known tricks. Puck goes on to describe some of the other great tricks he’s played on unsuspecting humans. Although Puck never explicitly describes why chaos delights him so much, he does offer a hint when he exclaims, “And those things do best please me / That befall prepost’rously” (III.ii.). Puck’s use of the word “prepost’rously” is significant here. This word derives from two Latin words, one that means “in front of” (prae) and one that means “behind” (posterus). Preposterous would then mean something like “with the behind in front.” In other words, Puck loves to flip things around and turn them on their head. Although Puck’s antics may cause pain or frustration for his human targets, he and his fellow fairies take great delight in causing trouble.