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When Hermia and Lysander enter the woods in Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream, they cross into another world. Unlike Athens, this world is populated by fantastic creatures who control the seasons, cast spells and meddle with human affairs. Because the fairies belong to this green-world, one can spend hours imagining their appearance - they can be richly adorned or wear nothing at all, for instance. But Shakespeare wants the audience to focus more on what the fairies do than what they look like. Indeed, one sees that the actions of the fairies Puck, Titania and Oberon not only drive the story but make them stand out as vivid, intriguing characters. Robin Goodfellow, or Puck, stands out as a character because he is unpredictable and fun to watch. Indeed, Puck endears himself to the audience from his first appearance. Unlike fairies who decorate the forest world and "hang a pearl in every cowslip's ear," Puck is a "shrewd and knavish sprite" who "frights the maidens of the villagery" (II, i, 15; 33; 35). When confronted with these claims, Puck does not dismiss them, rather he adds on more details about his reputation: he causes confusion among gossiping old women and trips up "the wisest aunt, telling the saddest tale" (II, i, 51). Before Puck's arrival, the audience has only seen the plight of the lovers, Hermia and Lysander. Yet when the audience learns Puck inhabits the forest outside of Athens, they know that A Midsummer Night's Dream is no Romeo and Juliet. But Puck is not just a typical trickster character - his actions drive the course of the play. Indeed, Puck is the one who causes Lysander to fall for Helena and transform Nick Bottom into Titania's love interest. While Oberon instructs Puck to take these actions, the audience sees these moments from Puck's perspective, which only heightens his importance. Puck may be Oberon's servant, but he delights - to the amusement of the audience - in interfering with humans on his own. When observing the rustics, he says he'll "be an auditor; / An actor too perhaps, if I see cause" (III, i, 80-81). Even after Oberon finds out that Puck has made the wrong couple fall in love, the fairy is unrepentant saying, "that I have 'nointed an Athenian's eyes /And so far am I glad it so did sort, / As this their jangling I esteem a sport" (III, ii, 351-353). But should the audience take offense at all that has taken place in the play, Shakespeare has Puck, now a favorite character, soothe their nerves. To "scape the serpent's tongue" Puck assures the audience they were experiencing a pleasant dream" and that they should "give [him] your hands, if we be friends" (V, i, 435; 439). Puck, who has made the largest impression throughout the play, has now given the audience reason to applaud. Titania the Fairy Queen captures the audience's attention because she stands up to her husband and refuses to hand over her Indian boy. The audience supports Titania because she remains fiercely loyal to her deceased follower, the boy's mother. She tells Oberon that "the fairy land buys not the child of me" because "for her sake do I rear up the boy / And for her sake I will not part with him" (II, i, 122; 136-137). Titania will refuse all of Oberon's offerings, even his kingdom, because she so admired the woman who "gossiped by my side / And sat with me on Neptune's yellow sands" (II, i, 125-126). The strength of Titania's speeches to Oberon in Act II esta
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