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The Winter's Tale by William Shakespeare

The Winter's Tale (1623)

by William Shakespeare, William Shakespeare

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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2,667272,230 (3.7)99
  1. 10
    Pericles, Prince of Tyre by William Shakespeare (Voracious_Reader)
    Voracious_Reader: Both The Winter's Tale and Pericles use a chorus to advance the play's action.

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Showing 1-5 of 25 (next | show all)
Let's be real here. You're a typical nerd on the internet and you only know of this play as the "exit, pursued by a bear" play. To be honest, after reading the whole thing, that's not really an unfair conception of it. It's just not very interesting outside that one detail. What with the prevalence of bear-baiting in Shakespeare's time they probably used a real bear and I'm envisioning this play basically being a set-piece spectacle revolving around getting to see a bear chase a dude on stage. No need for the rest of the play to be any good, you're going to sell tickets just based on that. So clearly that's the real reason for the bear thing. I read some nerd on tumblr proclaiming that this was an example of laziness or recklessness audacity on Shakespeare's part because he needed to get rid of Antigonus to set up his ending and couldn't think of any other way to remove the character from the story. But that's bullshit. Paulina and Camillo's marriage is like the third-most important marriage in the ending sequence. It's an off-hand matter covered in a couple of lines, that pays off nothing because we never gave a shit about either of those two characters' love lives up until that point. No, Shakespeare put that bear in there because he damn well wanted a bear. ( )
  jhudsui | Sep 10, 2015 |
"This play can be divided into two parts: the first is a tragedy, the second can be seen as a comedy. The former – roughly the first three acts – is slow and often linguistically unintelligible. Thankfully, the second half is more enjoyable. Shakespeare wisely exchanges the cold court of Sicilia for Bohemia’s pleasant rural regions. We are, for the first time in the play, presented with characters drawn from the lower classes. Shakespeare’s peasants are generally far more relatable than his nobility.

Yet, whereas the first half of the play is drawn out, the second half suffers from a sense of rushed resolution. This is most evident in the final scene: when the threads of the play finally come together, one cannot help but feel that the ending is awkward and contrived.

It is not surprising that The Winter’s Tale is one of Shakespeare's lesser known plays: it is bizarre and trying - both in terms of one's attention-span and one's capacity to suspend disbelief. Regardless, Shakespeare is always fun to read; his characters transcend time and beliefs. The Winter's Tale didn't make my top 5 Shakespeare plays, but it was sufficiently interesting to make me want to read more of his works.

Interesting quotes that I didn't include in the review:
Though I am not naturally honest, I am sometimes so by chance.

The Last Passage

Camillo, sir; I spake with him; who now
Has these poor men in question. Never saw I
Wretches so quake: they kneel, they kiss the earth;
Forswear themselves as often as they speak:
Bohemia stops his ears, and threatens them
With divers deaths in death.

O my poor father!—
The heaven sets spies upon us, will not have
Our contract celebrated.

You are married?

We are not, sir, nor are we like to be;
The stars, I see, will kiss the valleys first:—
The odds for high and low's alike.

My lord,
Is this the daughter of a king?

She is,
When once she is my wife.

That once, I see by your good father's speed,
" ( )
  AdemilsonM | Sep 2, 2015 |
My daughter is a sophomore in high school, and a confirmed Shakespeare devotee. When assigned Shakespeare for English, she giggles or cries her way through the texts, often reading aloud her favorite bits to me. I confess I never found Shakespeare as accessible as she does, but I love her enthusiasm for the bard, and when I found this audiobook at the library, I decided to give Shakespeare a go myself. After all, what better way to experience Shakespeare than through the performances of such amazing actors (this version is a fully dramatized audiobook performed by Sinead Cusack, Ciaran Hinds, Eileen Atkins, Paul Jesson, Sir John Gielgud and others)? And amazing they were -- and what a listening treat! The story is both sad and very funny.

Leontes, the king of Sicily, and his wife Hermione are hosting Polyxenes, the king of Bohemia and boyhood friend of Leontes. Leontes is unable to persuade his friend to stay in Sicily, and entreats Hermione to persuade him. When Polyxenes agrees, Leontes is suddenly seized with a jealousy so powerful he becomes crazed. He is convinced that Polyxenes and Hermione are having an affair and that the baby Hermione is carrying is Polyxenes's. He orders Camillo to poison the Bohemian king, but instead, Camiillo helps Polyxenes to escape, which further convinces Leontes of his guilt. He imprisons Hermione, and dispatches two of his lords to the Oracle at Delphi for confirmation of his wife's guilt. The Oracle proclaims Hermione's innocence, and prophesies that the king will be without an heir until that which has been lost is returned. Furious, Leontes sends his newborn daughter away with Antigonus to to abandoned to her fate, and brings Hermione to trial. Then the king's son dies, Hermione swoons and dies also, and Leontes is broken with grief and remorse.

Meanwhile, Antigonus leaves the baby, named Perdita, before being eaten by a bear (Exit, pursued by a bear). She is found, along with gold and royal trinkets by a shepherd and his son who take her in. Sixteen years later Perdita is a lovely girl being courted in secret by Polyxenes's son Florizel. King Polyxenes and Camillo visit the old shepherd's sheep-shearing feast in disguise, and attempt to persuade Florizel to include his father in his impending marriage to Perdita. When he refuses, the king throws off his disguise, disinherits his son, and threatens Perdita and the shepherd with torture. Camillo helps the lovers escape to seek refuge and support in Sicily, where he longs to return also. The shepherd shows the king the gold and royal trinkets found with Perdita as a baby. When Polyxenes realizes she is the lost princess of Sicily, he and the shepherd follow Perdita, Camillo, and Florizel to Sicily. There they are reunited with Leontes, still broken by grief and shame. That which was lost now returned and the prophecy fulfilled, the lady (and widow of Antigonus) Paulina reveals to them a statue of Hermione, astonishing in its likeness. In fact, it is Hermione, hidden away 16 years by Paulina and now restored to the family.

This was a wonderful way to experience Shakespeare, as well as the legendary performers -- I'm planning to look for more!
  AMQS | Jan 14, 2015 |
Deeply paranoid, Leontes, the King of Sicilia, decides that his wife has been having an affair with the visiting King of Bohemia, and that the baby she carries has been fathered by the visitor. Leontes demands that his friend Camillo murder King Polixenes, but instead, Camillo flees Sicilia with the King. Since he can't take revenge on the man, Leontes punishes the Queen and the newborn child, who is taken to Bohemia and left to the elements. She is rescued by a poor shepherd, who raises and loves her as a daughter, and the local prince falls in love with her, which causes problems with his father.

This play is a twofer- you get both a intense tragedy, along the lines of "Othello", then a romance. It's weird, because it's hard to transition from a king demanding that a newborn be burned alive to young love. For me, the first half, with the King's madness, was way more compelling. ( )
  mstrust | Dec 8, 2014 |
I think this is as bipolar a play as I've ever read and I feel that I must give it two reviews to do it justice.

I found Leontes in his green-eyed frenzy more disturbing than Othello. The Moor was an honest soldier subtly deceived. Leontes was an absolute monarch who went mad, roaring his diseased fancies in public, crushing dissent in those who knew better (with one exception), curable in the end only by the gods. (A regular Henry VIII, now that I think about it. ) The only person who stands up to him while he is in frenzy is the noblewoman Paulina, a great and unheralded creation, a role for Kathy Bates or Renee Zellweger.

I liked the second half well enough with its bumpkins and moonstruck lovers. I loved Autolycus the vagabond, pickpocket, sharper, the last in Shakespeare's long line of sharp rogues and clever clowns.

I've never read a more preposterous happy ending. I didn't mind too much. I wanted this play to end happily. ( )
  Coach_of_Alva | Nov 29, 2014 |
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» Add other authors (68 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
William Shakespeareprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Shakespeare, Williammain authorall editionsconfirmed
Andrews, John F.Editorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Armfield, MaxwellIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Bate, JonathanEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Bjerke, AndréTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Braunmuller, Albert RichardEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Brooke, TuckerEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Claus, HugoTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Farjeon, HerbertEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Furness, Horace HowardEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Gill, RomaEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Harrison, George B.Editorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Kermode, FrankEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Kittredge, George LymanEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
LaMar, Virginia A.Editorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Mowat, Barbara A.Editorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Orgel, StephenEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Pafford, John Henry PyleEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Pierce, Frederick E.Editorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Pitcher, JohnEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Rasmussen, EricEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Rolfe, William J.Editorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Schnazer, ErnestEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Tonkin, HumphreyTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Wells, Stanley W.Editorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Wright, Louis B.Editorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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First words
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.
What's gone and what's past help
Should be past grief.
It is an heretic that makes the fire,
Not she that burns in 't.
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0743484894, Mass Market Paperback)

FOLGER Shakespeare Library


Each edition includes:

· Freshly edited text based on the best early printed version of the play

· Full explanatory notes conveniently placed on pages facing the text of the play

· Scene-by-scene plot summaries

· A key to famous lines and phrases

· An introduction to reading Shakespeare's language

· An essay by a leading Shakespeare scholar providing a modern perspective on the play

· Illustrations from the Folger Shakespeare Library's vast holdings of rare books

Essay by Stephen Orgel

The Folger Shakespeare Library in Washington, D.C., is home to the world's largest collection of Shakespeare's printed works, and a magnet for Shakespeare scholars from around the globe. In addition to exhibitions open to the public throughout the year, the Folger offers a full calendar of performances and programs.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:24:01 -0400)

(see all 9 descriptions)

Presents Shakespeare's drama depicting King Leontes, who accuses his boyhood friend of betrayal, condemns his wife for adultery, and banishes his newborn daughter.

» see all 10 descriptions

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4 editions of this book were published by Audible.com.

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Penguin Australia

2 editions of this book were published by Penguin Australia.

Editions: 014071488X, 0141013893

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