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wundayatta's avatar

Can you tell me about other "trickster" characters you know of?

Asked by wundayatta (58377 points ) October 25th, 2011

Trickster characters appear in many folkloric traditions. Coyote is a good one for native Americans. Anansi, the spider god, is the trickster for many African traditions. Hermes was a Greek trickster—always messing up messages so no one knew what anyone else meant. We even find Brer Rabbit as the trickster in US history. The trickster always finds a way to mess things up. He’s the one causing the problems in that saying: “the best laid plans of mice and men….”

I’m looking for others I don’t know or haven’t thought of. If you know of one, could you tell me, please? And maybe give a one sentence description? Thanks.

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16 Answers

lillycoyote's avatar

There are a lot of them. The trickster is a very common character in mythology, folklore, fairy tales and literature in many cultures around the world. Here’s a list at this link and that’s not even all of them.

Symbeline's avatar

’‘Fairies’’ in Irish mythology seems to describe what I think you’re talking about. But they could get pretty hardcore. From making you drop your toast on its buttered side to making you go blind. Is that what you mean? I read a book about fairies and the mythology…they weren’t all that cute.
Thing is, it didn’t really have anything specific as a character, rather than just beings…and bushes that followed you in the woods.

Coloma's avatar

The boy who cried “Wolf!” :-o

wundayatta's avatar

@Symbeline That is exactly what I was looking for. Thanks very much!

shrubbery's avatar

I remember reading something while I was in Vancouver about a raven who stole the sun or something alone those lines. Perhaps he is the trickster up there.

Sunny2's avatar

The Big Bad Wolf?

talljasperman's avatar

Woody Woodpecker, The mice in Itchy and Scratchy and Tom and Jerry.

lillycoyote's avatar

How much about this do you want to know? Not that this makes me an authority on these things, but I have a B.A. in Cultural Anthropology and “the trickster,” as I mentioned before, is a very, very common character in a lot of cultures’ mythology and folklore; it borders on universal, and has been studied extensively by anthropologists. Here are the search results from Google Scholar on “trickster” for just for the last 10 years, to give you an idea of what’s out there.

Brian1946's avatar

Bugs Bunny, who is now 71, holds a place in the trickster pantheon.

According to Wiki: “Bugs Bunny has some similarities to figures from mythology and folklore, such as Br’er Rabbit, Nanabozho, or Anansi, and might be seen as a modern trickster (for example, he repeatedly uses cross-dressing mischievously). Unlike most cartoon characters, however, Bugs Bunny is rarely defeated in his own games of trickery.”

lillycoyote's avatar

@Brian1946 And, if we’re going to bring in cartoon characters, my brother Wile E. is a bit of a trickster himself, like all good coyotes. :-)

Brian1946's avatar

@lillycoyote

”...my brother Wile E. is a bit of a trickster himself….”

LOL! No way- you’re too young to be his sister. I bet he’s your daddy. ;-)

lillycoyote's avatar

@Brian1946 No, he’s my brother. I was of one of those later life “accident” babies. :-)

Brian1946's avatar

@lillycoyote Our avatars are turning this into a modern abstract art thread. ;-)

lillycoyote's avatar

@Cool! It looks great.

lifeflame's avatar

Crow from Ted Hughes’ Crow poems.

Here’s one that has me rolling on the floor.

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