"In mythology, and in the study of folklore and religion, a trickster is a god, goddess, spirit, man, woman, or anthropomorphic animal who plays tricks or otherwise disobeys normal rules and conventional behavior. It is suggested by Hansen (2001) that the term "Trickster" was probably first used in this context by Daniel G. Brinton in 1885." MORE
"Although trickster's actions and personality may seem ridiculous or extreme, some scholars have noted that he/she serves an important purpose in traditional and contemporary narratives. Trickster may work as a kind of outlet for strong emotions or actions in which humans cannot indulge. These actions are at the margins of social morality and normal behavior, so humans can express and feel things through the trickster that would be unsafe to express or experience outside of stories. In this sense the trickster is a kind of "escape valve" for a society.
(See the Barbara Babcock link for more on this.)In spite of his/her flaws, the trickster often represents the introduction of good things to society. He/she might bring to the culture (wittingly or unwittingly) important knowledge, food, medicine, customs (like marriage), clothing, and other good things, often in spite of his/her intentions." MORE
"The trickster myth derives creative intelligence from appetite. It begins with a being whose main concern is getting fed and it ends with the same being grown mentally swift, adept at creating and unmasking deceit, proficient at hiding his tracks and at seeing through the devices used by others to hide theirs. Trickster starts out hungry, but before long he is master of the kind of creative deception that, according to a long tradition, is a prerequisite of art. Aristotle wrote that Homer first "taught the rest of us the art of framing lies the right way." Homer makes lies seem so real that they enter the world and walk among us. Odysseus walks among us to this day, and he would seem to be Homer's own self-portrait, for Odysseus, too, is a master of the art of lying, an art he got from his grandfather, Autolycus, who got it in turn from his father, Hermes. And Hermes, in an old story we shall soon consider, invented lying when he was a hungry child with a hankering for meat." MORE