Feb. 8th, 2017

capriuni: A black field crossed by five parallel lighting bolts in blue, gold, green, red, and purple (Default)
Thank you for your patience. It's taking longer to write each of these posts than I anticipated.

And this post is turning out to be longer than I expected, so I've decided to split it in two ...

[Boilerplate Intro]


This truly is my favorite Shakespeare play -- or, at least, it's tied for "favorite" with King Lear. I'd argue it is also the most underrated play in the Shakespeare Canon, going by the imbalance between the play's native merit and its fame (or lack thereof).

Therefore, consider this fair warning: I am going to be spamming you all with this topic. In order to restore the balance, I'm making several shorter posts instead of one massive one, with at least the following posts -- and possibly more, as the mood strikes:

Part One: Synopsis ("Once upon a time...").

[Note: I've corrected a detail of the plot since I first posted this, and I've also added a footnote with Shakespeare's character and place names]

Part Two: Major Themes and Context, with quotes (Conflict between personal conscience and the law, women as the keepers of moral authority, and questioning the limits of an hereditary, theocratic, monarchy).

Part Three: Secondary Themes (The relationship between parents and children, the passage of time, and watching children grow up).

Part Four: Plot and Character Crafting

Part Five: Links to other people's interpretations



Shakespeare is taught in school in the first place because he's held up as an example of High Culture[tm]. He got that reputation during the Restoration (before that, he was popular culture). And this play was, according to Wikipedia, ignored back then. So it's (largely) ignored today. Also, according to literary and pedagogical tradition, Shakespeare's final play was The Tempest, and this was 'only' his second-to-last.

So The Winter's Tale ends up being one of the siblings at a crowded table that can't get a word in edgewise. So this post is me, saying: "C'mon, Guys! You need to listen to this!"



[Note: I didn't realize until after I started this that all of the key scenes I'm talking about take place in the court of the City King (Leontes), in Sicilia. While the next post -- the secondary themes -- will more likely be split evenly between the two kingdoms (The other being Bohemia). But there you go...]

Thoughts (from an enthusiast, but not expert) )

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