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The Winter's Tale Paperback – Jun 20 2000
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About the Author
"He was not of an age, but for all time," declared Ben Jonson of his contemporary William Shakespeare (1564–1616). Jonson's praise is especially prescient, since at the turn of the 17th century Shakespeare was but one of many popular London playwrights and none of his dramas were printed in his lifetime. The reason so many of his works survive is because two of his actor friends, with the assistance of Jonson, assembled and published the First Folio edition of 1623.
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Top Customer Reviews
Polixenes, the King of Bohemia, has been visiting his pal King Leontes in Sicilia, and eventually he wants to go home. But after Queen Hermione convinces him to stay awhile, Leontes suddenly goes nuts and decides that Polixenes and Hermione have been having an affair, and that her unborn child must be his old friend's. Polixenes flees back to his own land, and Hermione dies soon after her newborn daughter is abandoned in the wilderness.
Of course, Leontes soon finds out that he was off his gourd, and that poor Hermione was completely innocent. Charming, isn't he? Sixteen years later, Polixenes' son Florizel falls in love with a mysterious young shepherdess, who is actually Leontes' daughter Perdita (of course!). But with royal opposition to their marriage, the young couple must overcome many obstacles before everything is settled happily.
"A Winter's Tale" is a curious hybrid of Shakespeare's different theatrical "types" -- there's some gentle comedy, some mellow tragedy, and a hefty dose of romance. The first three acts are basically one long disaster, with Leontes' crazy paranoia destroying his friendships, marriage and children's lives, until it seems that there's no happy ending for anybody.
But the last few acts are very different. Shakespeare's writing takes on a more romantic, sweet tone, particularly when Florizel and Perdita are lavishing lovers' praise on each other ("My prettiest Perdita!Read more ›
(This review is for the talking book version of this play on compact disc by the "Complete Arkangel Shakespeare" and published by BBC Audiobooks America.)
"Too hot, too hot!
To mingle friendship far is mingling bloods.
I have tremor cordis on me,--my heart dances;
But not for joy,--not joy.--This entertainment
May a free face put on; derive a liberty
From heartiness, from bounty, fertile bosom,
And well become the agent: `t may, I grant:
But to be paddling palms and pinching fingers,
As now they are; and making practis'd smiles,
As in a looking glass; and then to sigh, as `twere
The mort o' the deer; O, that is entertainment
My bosom likes not, nor my brows."
The above is said as an aside by the King of Sicilia as he observes his Queen with his good friend (who he has known since childhood), the King of Bohemia. This is the occurrence that sparks the King of Sicilia's jealousy and forms the basis of this play (written circa 1611) by William Shakespeare (1564 to 1616).
(Note that this play is traditionally classified as a comedy but is more accurately known as a tragicomedy or romance.)
Having this play recorded on compact disc is a treat. This play (of five acts or fifteen scenes) is presented as uncut, fully dramatized, and accompanied by original music. This recording aids in comprehension by bringing the play to life using the voices of distinguished actors.
Included with the compact disc are liner notes that include among other things a complete cast list and a synopsis of each scene. What I did was before each scene, I paused the recording, read a particular scene's synopsis, and then listened to that scene.Read more ›
This is mainly a love story with several different types of love affairs- Leontes and Hermoine, Leontes and Polizenes, Farid and Perdita... There is no single major character as this play is set up in two different time periods and each character mostly acts independently of each other.
As for the characterization in the play, readers can observe the classical Shakespearean characters (similar characteristics to the earlier plays) and newly personality designed characers. This mixed play reveals Shakespeare's transition from his original writings to his attempt to prove his audience that there is good in life.
I recommend this play for readers and interested literature majors because I have found this play to be widely used on college campuses and I can see why. Although we are done and we spent some time but I felt that this play deserves to be discussed in depth since there are many different elements to it. Even short plays can evolve into a course as well as long Russian style novels.
The play is taken from Greene's Pandosto and follows it quite closely in most parts. The plot is fairly simple, Leontes, the King of Sicilia gets into a jealous rage over his what he believes is his wife's infidelity with his friend. This causes him to break off a close relationship with his childhood friend the King of Bohemia and his servant Camillo. He also banishes his daughter, and kills his wife and son by flouting Apollo's judgement that Hermione, his wife, is innocent.
The second part of the play is concerned with the reunion of his banished daughter and her newly acquired husband with Leontes. There is a surprise at the ending which I will not spoil for those who have not yet had the opportunity to read the play.
If you've read Othello, you will find similarities between Othello and Leontes and also between Desdemona and Hermione. The only major difference is that there is no Iago in this play; Leontes is his own Iago. Shakespeare in Othello develops the reasons for Othello's suspicion of Desdemona, unfortunately this is lacking in The Winter's Tale. There is not much of a motive and the reader (or audience) is asked to believe that Leontes develops his jealous rage over one minor incident and almost immediately.
Another problem I have with this play is with the surprise ending. Here again, there is not much of a clue as to how this happens, it is just assumed that we will accept it unquestioningly as fact.Read more ›
Most recent customer reviews
The Winter's Tale is a lot of things: heart-breaking, exhilerating, funny, beautiful, romantic, profound, etc. Yeah, it's all here. Read morePublished on May 27 2003 by Oddsfish
a good read, but can be confusing for kids. It takes a while to comprehend all of the Shakespearian langauge, but is very interesting. It is boring at parts.Published on May 20 2003
A sad romantic play about human behavior and emotions ...a merciless decision issued by the king Leontes against his wife Hermione and his boyhood friend Polixenes is the shocking... Read morePublished on July 29 2002 by rannoon
The Winter's Tale contains some of the most technically difficult solutions to telling a story that have ever appeared in a play. Read morePublished on Oct. 18 2001 by Donald Mitchell
This play, in my opinion, is Shakespeare's greatest. It doesn't have the great quotes or the great characters or the action of many of his plays, but it has a 'Surprise Twist'... Read morePublished on Sept. 18 2001
For me The Winter's Tale is the most satisfying of Shakespeare's plays. And why? It may not be Hamlet for tragedy, it may not be Twelfth Night for comedy -- indeed, perhaps in... Read morePublished on July 21 2001 by Henry Ehrman
I really, really liked this play. This was my third of Shakespeare's, and I was pleased to discover that I hadn't wasted my time reading it. Oh, how sorry I felt for Hermione! Read morePublished on Dec 10 2000 by Kirby Frank
"A sad tale's best for winter." And this tale is full of misperceived motives, anger, absurdities, seeming tragedy, and hysterical comedy. Read morePublished on June 4 2000 by NotATameLion
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