If We Shadows have Offended

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Shakespearean monologues for teens.

Act V, Scene i

Puck's Monologue

PUCK
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:
And, as I am an honest Puck,
If we have unearned luck
Now to 'scape the serpent's tongue,
We will make amends ere long;
Else the Puck a liar call;
So, good night unto you all.
Give me your hands, if we be friends,
And Robin shall restore amends.


Explaining If we Shadows Have Offended.

Robin Goodfellow or Puck as he is known in A Midsummer Nights Dream is a mischievous fairy who through his pranks and screwups causes romantic chaos for two young couples lost in the woods outside of Athens one magical night. Because the play is a comedy, when the morning sun heralds a new day, everything ends happily and order is restored

Puck ends A Midsummer Nights Dream with this monologue. While the nobility in Shakespeare's plays speak in Iambic Pentameter or in 5 beats a line-One weak followed by one strong beat, which mimics the sound of a heartbeat. Da-dum, Da-dum, Da-dum, Da-dum, Da-dum. Trochaic Tetrameter is the meter of the fairies of which Puck is one. That meter has the opposite beat. The first syllable. the third the fifth and seventh are stressed in a seven syllable line. In Puck's monologue the first two lines and the last two are uniquely eight syllables meaning the last syllablle is soft.

Puck has dropped out of character at the end of the play. He is no longer the character; Puck, but the actor playing Puck. He opens the monologue with if we shadows Actors were often termed shadows because they were considered copies or shadows of real men and women. Shadows were also the creatures you would encounter in dreams and the magical spirits that so often populated Shakespear's more fantastical plays. If we shadows have offended
means that if we actors have offended you the audience with their poor performance. At the same time he is also saying that if we spirits have offended you,
Think but this and all is mended,
that you have but slumbered here,
While these visions did appear

This means that if you think that you were just sleeping and had a dream and the play wasn't even real, then the actors need not apologixe for their poor performance.
And this weak and idle theme,
No more yielding but a dream,

Puck is saying, as the actor, that this slight fanciful play was no more substantial than a dream.
Gentles, do not reprehend:
if you pardon, we will mend
:
Puck wants the audience not to criticize the actors but forgive them and they will make it better next time.
And, as I am an honest Puck,
If we have unearned luck
Now to 'scape the serpent's tongue,
We will make amends ere long;
Else the Puck a liar call;

Puck is saying that as he is an honest actor, if they have managed to escape the hissing and booing from the audience the actors promise to make it up to the audience and improve their show for next time. If they don't then Puck is a liar.
So, good night unto you all.
Give me your hands, if we be friends,
And Robin shall restore amends.

At the end of the monologue Puck is saying Good night to the audience and if they liked the show he is asking them to clap and again he repeats that they will strive to improve the next performance



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