The Merry Wives of Windsor | Critical Essay by Wendy Wall

This literature criticism consists of approximately 51 pages of analysis & critique of The Merry Wives of Windsor.
This section contains 15,267 words
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Critical Essay by Wendy Wall

SOURCE: Wall, Wendy. “Why Does Puck Sweep?: Fairylore, Merry Wives, and Social Struggle.” Shakespeare Quarterly 52, no. 1 (spring 2001): 67-106.

In the following excerpt, Wall studies the relationship between the play's treatment of fairylore and Elizabethan conceptions of social order.

Why does puck sweep? At the end of A Midsummer Night's Dream, Oberon and his troupe of fairies enter the Athenian palace to bless the aristocratic newlyweds as they set out to consummate their marriages. After waxing lyrical about screeching predators and demonic spirits, Puck describes his nocturnal mission as an oddly mundane hallowing: “I am sent with broom before, / To sweep the dust behind the door” (5.1.389-90).1 When the fairies saunter casually into the ducal palace, the magic that had been located specifically within the forest is unleashed onto Theseus's domestic, if hyperrational...

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This section contains 15,267 words
(approx. 51 pages at 300 words per page)
Buy the Critical Essay by Wendy Wall