This article originally appeared on the Huffington Post.
A trickster is defined as a “deceiver, cheater, or fraud.” However, in mythology, the trickster is studied up close in folklore and religion. Going beyond the simple cheater definition, a trickster is a character in a story – exhibiting great cunning and possessing secret knowledge – who plays tricks or otherwise disobeys normal rules and conventional behavior. As such, the trickster can be thought of as an archetypal character, appearing in many myths across various cultures through lore and tradition. The trickster is a boundary-crosser, disrupts normal life typically for our hero in the story (or innocent bystander) and thus violates principles of social and natural order.
In this way, the trickster is merely a distraction, unmoved by conventional goals or achievements as their one true driving force is cunning, stealing or simply causing mischief. In Greek mythology, Hermes, god of many trades and skills, and a trickster no doubt, causes turmoil for many of those immortal gods and goddesses at Zeus’ beck and call.
In modern times, the trickster has dawned a new cloak and marauds the internet as a troll.