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The Winter’s Tale

The Winter’s Tale

The Winter’s Tale Analysis

Literary Devices in The Winter’s Tale

Symbolism, Imagery, Allegory

Polixenes’s description of his childhood friendship with Leontes is probably the most famous example of imagery in The Winter’s Tale. According to Polixenes, when they played together a...

Setting

The first half of The Winter’s Tale is set in King Leontes’s Sicilian court during the cold winter. We know it’s winter, by the way, because Mammilius tells his mother “A sa...

Genre

The Winter’s Tale is often called a “problem play” because it defies traditional categories of genre. Many Shakespeare critics settle on calling The Winter’s Tale a “t...

Tone

The first three acts, set in the Sicilian court, are dark and claustrophobic. This is mostly the result of Leontes’s jealousy and tyranny, which pretty much dominates the first half of the pl...

Writing Style

We’re not going to sugar-coat it for you. The Winter’s Tale has a reputation for its difficult language, which can be a bit off-putting until you get the hang of it. That’s becaus...

What’s Up With the Title?

The term “winter’s tale” isn’t used a whole lot in the 21st century, but in Shakespeare’s day, everyone knew that a “winter’s tale” was the kind of s...

What’s Up With the Ending?

In the final scene, sixteen long years of suffering at the Sicilian court give way to the joyous and miraculous reunion of Leontes’s family, the seeming resurrection of Hermione, the renewal...

Tough-o-Meter

In the play, many characters speak in a pretty formal and decorous language that suits their noble status in the royal courts of Sicily and Bohemia. These speech habits are notorious for making The...

Plot Analysis

Things are hunky dory at the Sicilian court.Leontes (King of Sicily) and his wife (Hermione) have been busy entertaining Leontes's childhood friend Polixenes (King of Bohemia) for nine months, whic...

Booker's Seven Basic Plots Analysis

Leontes experiences a sudden onset of jealousy.Things at the Sicilian court seem peachy until, out of nowhere, Leontes suspects his pregnant wife is having an affair with his best friend, Polixenes...

Three Act Plot Analysis

The first three acts of The Winter’s Tale revolve around Leontes’s jealousy, which literally destroys his family, severs his lifelong friendship with Polixenes, and jeopardizes the fate...

Trivia

The Winter’s Tale contains one of the most famous stage directions in English literary history: “Exit, pursued by a bear.” (That’s when Autolycus is chased down and then eat...

Steaminess Rating

We’re giving The Winter’s Tale a PG-13 rating, mostly because Leontes has a dirty mind and quite a way with words. When he suspects that his faithful and very pregnant wife, Hermione, i...

Allusions

Pandosto, Robert GreeneBook 10 of Ovid’s MetamorphosesAlexander the Great (5.1.3)Giulio Romano, Italian artist (5.2.5)Mercury, father of Autolycus (4.3.1)Judas’s betrayal of Christ (1.2...

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