basis for the relations within the play, and the need to Leontes turns in frustration to Hermione) shows .. tentative attempt to test the nurturance he has so. The The Winter's Tale characters covered include: Leontes, Hermione, Leontes - The King of Sicilia, and the childhood friend of the Bohemian King Polixenes. Hermione is Queen of Sicily, wife to Leontes, and mother to Mamillius and Perdita. . behavior proves to be the death (winter) of his relationship with his wife.
Dorcas — A shepherdess, in love with Young Shepherd. Paulina imploring Leontes to have mercy on his daughter, Perdita. Illustration was designed for an edition of Lamb's Tales, copyrighted Following a brief setup scene the play begins with the appearance of two childhood friends: Polixenes is visiting the kingdom of Sicilia, and is enjoying catching up with his old friend.
However, after nine months, Polixenes yearns to return to his own kingdom to tend to affairs and see his son. Leontes desperately attempts to get Polixenes to stay longer, but is unsuccessful.
Key Questions | Revision World
Leontes then decides to send his wife, Queen Hermione, to try to convince Polixenes. Hermione agrees and with three short speeches is successful. Leontes is puzzled as to how Hermione convinced Polixenes so easily, and so he begins to suspect that his pregnant wife has been having an affair with Polixenes and that the child is Polixenes'.
Leontes orders Camillo, a Sicilian Lord, to poison Polixenes. Camillo instead warns Polixenes and they both flee to Bohemia. Furious at their escape, Leontes now publicly accuses his wife of infidelity, and declares that the child she is bearing must be illegitimate.
He throws her in prison, over the protests of his nobles, and sends two of his lords, Cleomenes and Dion, to the Oracle at Delphos for what he is sure will be confirmation of his suspicions. Meanwhile, the queen gives birth to a girl, and her loyal friend Paulina takes the baby to the king, in the hopes that the sight of the child will soften his heart. He grows angrier, however, and orders Paulina's husband, Lord Antigonus, to take the child and abandon it in a desolate place.
Cleomenes and Dion return from Delphos with word from the Oracle and find Hermione publicly and humiliatingly put on trial before the king. She asserts her innocence, and asks for the word of the Oracle to be read before the court.
The Oracle states categorically that Hermione and Polixenes are innocent, Camillo is an honest man, and that Leontes will have no heir until his lost daughter is found. Leontes shuns the news, refusing to believe it as the truth. As this news is revealed, word comes that Leontes' son, Mamillius, has died of a wasting sickness brought on by the accusations against his mother. At this, Hermione falls in a swoon, and is carried away by Paulina, who subsequently reports the queen's death to her heartbroken and repentant husband.
Leontes vows to spend the rest of his days atoning for the loss of his son, his abandoned daughter, and his queen.
The Winter's Tale - Wikipedia
Antigonus, meanwhile, abandons the baby on the coast of Bohemia, reporting that Hermione appeared to him in a dream and bade him name the girl Perdita. He leaves a fardel a bundle by the baby containing gold and other trinkets which suggest that the baby is of noble blood.
A violent storm suddenly appears, wrecking the ship on which Antigonus arrived. He wishes to take pity on the child, but is chased away in one of Shakespeare's most famous stage directions: Perdita is rescued by a shepherd and his son, also known as "Clown.
Camillo, now in the service of Polixenes, begs the Bohemian king to allow him to return to Sicilia. Polixenes refuses and reports to Camillo that his son, Prince Florizel, has fallen in love with a lowly shepherd girl: He suggests to Camillo that, to take his mind off thoughts of home, they disguise themselves and attend the sheep-shearing feast where Florizel and Perdita will be betrothed.
At the feast, hosted by the Old Shepherd who has prospered thanks to the gold in the fardel, the pedlar Autolycus picks the pocket of the Young Shepherd and, in various guises, entertains the guests with bawdy songs and the trinkets he sells.
Disguised, Polixenes and Camillo watch as Florizel under the guise of a shepherd named Doricles and Perdita are betrothed. Then, tearing off the disguise, Polixenes angrily intervenes, threatening the Old Shepherd and Perdita with torture and death and ordering his son never to see the shepherd's daughter again. With the aid of Camillo, however, who longs to see his native land again, Florizel and Perdita take ship for Sicilia, using the clothes of Autolycus as a disguise.
They are joined in their voyage by the Old Shepherd and his son who are directed there by Autolycus. In Sicilia, Leontes is still in mourning. Cleomenes and Dion plead with him to end his time of repentance because the kingdom needs an heir. Paulina, however, convinces the king to remain unmarried forever since no woman can match the greatness of his lost Hermione. The Winter's Tale, then, ends the way all winters end - by giving its characters the promise of forgiveness and a fresh start.
Other Past Exam Questions Below are a number of key themes and areas on the play that have been tested in the past.
Try to plan for these areas. Autolycus is full of comic potential; recently parallels to the evil he portrays in both Leontes and Polixenes. Do you think Shakespeare's presentation of Autolycus fits into the design of the play as a whole? The play movingly presents the healing power of art. How do you respond to the links between different social groups in The Winter's Tale?
The play dramatically explores the abuse of power.The Winter's Tale - Act I Trial scene (The Royal Ballet)
Paulina and Hermione are the intellectual and moral equal of the men in the play, with a clear vision of justice and fairness. A world in which it is crucial to accept responsibility for suffering. Inter-relationship of court and society, showing that each has qualities to give to the other. Older generation, not the younger, as the more significant in establishing the mood of the play.
Shakespeare presents the male views of women based on fear and suspicion. Faced with moral dilemmasmoral choices. Concept of great, often destructive power of time. Political necessity of a king having an heir. Difficult for a modern audience to understand and sympathise with Hermione's reactions in the play. Discuss the role of setting in the play.
Analyse the character of Autolycus, and discuss his role in the play. Analyse the character of Perdita, and her relationship to nature. Discuss the role of divine intervention in the play, especially the miracle scene and the Delphic Oracle.