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The Winters Tale

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... play gets positively giddy: the 'Clown's' description of the shipwreck, the bear ... What title would we give the little play he engages the clown in? ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: The Winters Tale


1
The Winters Tale
  • Second lecture

2
Hermiones trial
  • She points out that her testimony can scarcely be
    credited since she is accused of falsehood.
  • Its simply he said/she said can it be a
    real trial?
  • My life stands in the level of your dreams.
  • And her faith is in powers divine that she
    insists view and judge human affairs. (ll. 27ff).
  • And in the oracle of Apollo.
  • Apollos judgment!
  • And immediately another judgment.
  • And another!
  • Leontes vows his change of mind and repentance
    he makes it all very simple and confesses his
    plot with Camillo.
  • But this is a tragedy and Paulina pronounces
    the effect I say shes dead Ill swear it.
  • And Leontes cannot expect repentance
  • Do not repent these things . . . Nothing but
    despair. A thousand knees/ Ten thousand years
    together, naked , fasting,/ Upon a barren
    mountain, and still winter/ In storm perpetual,
    could not move the gods/ To look that way thou
    wert.
  • Some sins cannot be forgiven.
  • But the play is only half over.

3
The hinge of the play Now bless thyself! Thou
metst with things dying, I with things new-born
  • Act III, scene 3, seems strangely broken in two
    in terms of mood and tone.
  • The first half, in a storm, has Antigonus
    describing his dream of the dead Hermione and his
    belief that the baby belongs in Bohemia.
  • Though he pities the baby, he believes Leontes
    account of Hermiones adultery.
  • He gives the baby the name the ghost of Hermione
    specified, Perdita, and abandons her.
  • For which hes immediately punished Exit
    pursued by a bear.
  • Then the tone immediately changes the old
    Shepherd grumbles about youth.
  • I would there were no age between ten and
    three-and-twenty, or that youth would sleep out
    the rest.
  • (The secret wish of all parents of teenagers?!)
  • Whoa, ho, hoa! answered by Hilloa, loa!
    Serious stuff, right?
  • And now the play gets positively giddy the
    Clowns description of the shipwreck, the bear
    dining on the gentleman.
  • Tis a lucky day, boy . . . (Unless youre
    Antigonus)

4
Time, the Chorus
  • Personifies the very principle of romance, which
    requires the passing of time.
  • Remember well, I mentioned a son o th kings
    (Well no, but Polixenes mentioned him about 16
    years ago.)
  • And of course something must happen between
    Florizel and Perdita.
  • And the scene between Polixenes and Camillo gives
    us more backstory.
  • And it turns out princes are just as rotten as
    ordinary youths, disappearing, paying no
    attention to princely exercises, probably
    chasing some girl.

5
Autolycus
  • A singer, a shapeshifter, an actor, a thief, a
    pickpocket, a satirist, a small businessman.
  • In short, a comic stand-in for the playwright?
  • What title would we give the little play he
    engages the clown in?
  • Hell later play a part in the larger play.
  • Doing a good deed against his will.
  • And kick-starting the plot we have to get
    everybody back to Sicily.

6
The pastoral world art and nature
  • Shakespeare and pastoral
  • Here the most fully realized version.
  • Florizels over-the-top mythologizing of it at
    opening of the scene.
  • The two have changed places shes queen of the
    feast and hes dressed as a shepherd.
  • But shes on edge about the whole thing.
  • Her welcome to the disguised Polixenes and
    Camillo rosemary and rue
  • Flowers of winter?
  • We dont have autumn flowers, natures
    bastards.
  • Perdita I have heard it said/ There is an art
    which in their piedness shares/ With great
    creating nature.
  • Countered by Polixenes nature makes the art
    This is an art/ Which does mend nature change
    it rather but/ The art itself is nature.
  • But shell still not set one slip of them shell
    stay with a purer nature and analogizes it
    frankly to her own breeding with Florizel.
  • Does this give us hope that Polixenes can accept
    her?
  • Her wish for early spring flowers to strew
    Florizel.
  • Not like a corse or if, not to be buried,/ But
    quick and in mine arms.
  • And his poetry back to her.
  • All interrupted by dancing, the entry of
    Autolycus, bawdy joking by Mopsa and Dorcas,
    discussion about ballads, more singing, another
    dance (of Satyrs),

7
The pastoral cut short
  • Why exactly does Polixenes break up the two
    lovers?
  • A conventional idea that young aristocrats
    shouldnt marry peasants?
  • Wouldnt his argument about the gillyvors suggest
    otherwise?
  • And though he says its time to part them, he
    seems to encourage Florizels wooing at ll.
    344ff.
  • In response to Fs vows, his response Fairly
    offered.
  • But Have you a father?
  • Methinks a father/ Is at the nuptial of his son
    a guest/ That best becomes the table.
  • And the fury between generations that
    characterizes comedy, but also fuels tragedy
    (think King Lear).
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