The Winter's Tale

Overview

The Winter's Tale is Shakespeare's most perfectly realized tragi-comedy, as notable for its tragic intensity as for its comic grace and, throughout, for the richness and complexity of its poetry. It concludes, moreover, with the most daring and moving reconciliation scene in all Shakespeare's plays. Though the title may suggest an escapist fantasy, recent criticism has seen in the play a profoundly realist psychology and a powerful commentary on the violence implicit in family relationships and deep, long-lasting...
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Overview

The Winter's Tale is Shakespeare's most perfectly realized tragi-comedy, as notable for its tragic intensity as for its comic grace and, throughout, for the richness and complexity of its poetry. It concludes, moreover, with the most daring and moving reconciliation scene in all Shakespeare's plays. Though the title may suggest an escapist fantasy, recent criticism has seen in the play a profoundly realist psychology and a powerful commentary on the violence implicit in family relationships and deep, long-lasting friendships. Stephen Orgel's edition considers the play in relation to Renaissance conceptions of both dramatic genre and the family, traces the changing critical and theatrical attitudes towards it, and places its psychological and dramatic conflicts within the Jacobean cultural and political context. The commentary pays special attention to the play's linguistic complexity, and the edition also includes a complete reprint of Shakespeare's source, Pandosto, by Robert Greene.
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Editorial Reviews

VOYA - Patti Sylvester Spencer
This edition of the play, part of the Oxford School Shakespeare series, presents Shakespeare's unabridged tragicomedy with thorough supplementary notes (parallel to script), vocabulary, and brief scene synopses. Scattered pen/ink sketches illustrate a few scenes. Large pages might make this paperback more reader-friendly than some. A lengthy commentary introducing the play could be useful to students already familiar with it. Following the text of the play, the editor discusses source material, demonstrating Shakespeare's use of borrowed ideas. Several paragraphs of criticism inform students how readers/viewers from Samuel Johnson (1765) to Harold C. Goddard (1951) viewed the play. Supplementary material includes a nineteenth century actress sharing ideas about working on the play with famed actor Macready, and a musical score for songs in the play. Ten pages titled Classwork and Examinations offer a variety of traditional teaching methods for instructors (discussion, character study, essays, etc.) The volume closes with a frank biographical sketch of Shakespeare, which admits to the dearth of facts and the necessary speculation. Illus. Source Notes. Chronology. VOYA Codes: 3Q 2P S (Readable without serious defects, For the YA with a special interest in the subject, Senior High-defined as grades 10 to 12).
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780521277532
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press
  • Publication date: 7/19/1984
  • Series: Shakespeare on Stage Series
  • Pages: 32
  • Product dimensions: 8.27 (w) x 11.69 (h) x 0.12 (d)

First Chapter

HERMIONE, Queen of Sicilia
MAMILLIUS, their son
PERDITA, their daughter

POLIXENES, King of BOHEMIA
FLORIZELL, his son

CAMILLO, a courtier, friend to Leontes and then to Polixenes ANTIGONUS, a Sicilian courtier
PAULINA, his wife and lady-in-waiting to Hermione
CLEOMENES courtier in Sicilia
DION courtier in Sicilia
EMILIA, a lady-in-waiting to Hermione

SHEPHERD, foster father to Perdita
SHEPHERD'S SON
AUTOLYCUS, former servant to Florizell, now a rogue ARCHIDAMUS, a Bohemian courtier

TIME, as Chorus

TWO LADIES attending on Hermione
LORDS, SERVANTS, and GENTLEMEN attending on Leontes
An OFFICER of the court
A MARINER
A JAILER
MOPSA shepherdess in Bohemia
DORCAS shepherdess in Bohemia

SERVANT to the Shepherd

SHEPHERDS and SHEPHERDESSES
Twelve COUNTRYMEN disguised as satyrs


ACT 1

Scene 1
Enter Camillo and Archidamus.

ARCHIDAMUS If you shall chance, Camillo, to visit Bohemia on the like occasion whereon my services are now on foot, you shall see, as I have said, great difference betwixt our Bohemia and your Sicilia.

CAMILLO I think this coming summer the King of Sicilia means to pay Bohemia the visitation which he justly owes him.

ARCHIDAMUS Wherein our entertainment shall shame us; we will be justified in our loves. For indeed --

CAMILLO Beseech you --

ARCHIDAMUS Verily, I speak it in the freedom of my knowledge. We cannot with such magnificence -- in so rare -- I know not what to say. We will give you sleepy drinks, that your senses, unintelligent of our insufficience, may, though they cannot praise us, as little accuse us.

CAMILLO You pay a great deal too dear for what's given freely.

ARCHIDAMUS Believe me, I speak as my understanding instructs me and as mine honesty puts it to utterance.

CAMILLO Sicilia cannot show himself over kind to Bohemia. They were trained together in their childhoods, and there rooted betwixt them then such an affection which cannot choose but branch now. Since their more mature dignities and royal necessities made separation of their society, their encounters, though not personal, hath been royally attorneyed with interchange of gifts, letters, loving embassies, that they have seemed to be together though absent, shook hands as over a vast, and embraced as it were from the ends of opposed winds. The heavens continue their loves.

ARCHIDAMUS I think there is not in the world either malice or matter to alter it. You have an unspeakable comfort of your young Prince Mamillius. It is a gentleman of the greatest promise that ever came into my note.

CAMILLO I very well agree with you in the hopes of him. It is a gallant child -- one that indeed physics the subject, makes old hearts fresh. They that went on crutches ere he was born desire yet their life to see him a man.

ARCHIDAMUS Would they else be content to die?

CAMILLO Yes, if there were no other excuse why they should desire to live.

ARCHIDAMUS If the King had no son, they would desire to five on crutches till he had one.

They exit.

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