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The Trickster Figure: Fair Play & Ethics

A trick can be something deceptive. How do the tricks used by trickster figures relate to standards of fair play and ethical action? Select one or two examples and discuss them.

Solution Preview

Dear Student,
I have provided mythical, fictional and real-life trickster narratives below. I hope this helps.

Sincerely,
OTA 105878/Xenia Jones

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The Trickster

The mythical figure of the Trickster is a familiar one. Loki, the Norse trickster-god is familiar to young old due to his 'deeds' being both amusing, fantastical and a form of social justice (from a Norse-viewpoint). His popularity has been carried over throughout history with modern adaptations of Loki played out in movies, comic books and fantasy novels. But Loki is not the only one. Mythologies and folktales the world over have their own version of Loki. A trickster is a god, goddess, spirit or an anthropomorphic being who disobeys conventional behaviour, following what appears to either be deviant or purposeful reasoning or set of actions, breaking the rules of the 'higher Deities' but by doing so, create unintentional and positive effects. Now, in conventional wisdom, what is fair and ethical is 'culturally-based'. Meaning, even in any mythology, there are rules. Loki played his jokes either enhancing, lessening or taking away misery altogether to affect humans and gods alike. He either finds amusement in it or is doing it for a specific purpose. Even then, by playing tricks, Loki does not stay within the 'standards' of his father Odin, getting him into trouble. This had always been the case of trickster-gods. For example in Chinese Mythology, the Rules and ideals that govern Heaven and Earth are in accordance with the will and word of 'The Jade Emperor' following Buddha's mandate. This however is lost on Sun Wukong - the Monkey King, the trickster figure in Chinese Mythology. Born from the primal forces of chaos, he joined and lived in peace among a clan of monkeys who treated him as their king. Realizing his mortality he travelled far and wide in search for the divine and by doing so learned about the world. He eventually was taken as a pupil by a monk-patriarch who taught him wisdom, knowledge and certain tricks and ...

Solution Summary

The solution discusses concisely and comprehensive the mythical character of the Trickster in relation to the games, tricks and plays Trickster characters use and if their actions have any essence of fair play and ethical action. An introductory narrative discussing familiar trickster figures like Loki is provided. The Chinese Mythological Trickster 'the Monkey King' or Sun-Wukong's actions is analysed for their implications of fair play. The modern cartoon trickster Bugs Bunny's play of words is also discussed as a modern archetype of the trickster figure. References are provided, both web and print. A word-version of the solution is attached for easy print.

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