What is the meaning of Puck's speech at the end of "Midsummer Night's Dream?

1 Answer
Apr 10, 2018

Answer:

Puck apologizes to and requests applause from the audience in his speech.

Explanation:

In Puck's soliloquy, he asks for forgiveness from the audience if any of them felt offended or hurt by the play by referring to the fictional events and characters in The Midsummer Night's Dream as shadows (see below), also comparing the play itself to nothing more than a dream; it was all imaginary and harmless.

As Puck is the mischievous sprite who created the mess at the beginning, he first brings up the fact that the audience has played a hand in the chaos as well by showing up and "slumber'd here" (v.i.415). As mentioned before, he wants to confirm that the audience enjoyed the play and apologizes if it offended anyone since it's nothing more than an "idle theme" (v.i.416) and entertainment. Finishing up with asking for the pardon of the attendees for Puck to restore peace and order once again.

If we shadows have offended,
Think but this, and all is mended:
That you have but slumber'd here
While these visions did appear.
And this weak and idle theme,
No more yielding but a dream,
Gentles do not reprehend.
If you pardon, we will mend.
(v.i.440-447)

~

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