The Winter’s Tale by William Shakespeare

The Winter’s Tale – Author

William Shakespeare was a playwright and poet from England. He is largely considered as an excellent dramatist in the English language.  He has authored 37 plays in total. His plays are classified according to their genre, such as comedies, tragedies, roman plays, historical plays, romances, and so on. They can be classified based on the time period in which they were written. His plays are regarded as among the best in the English language.

About the Play


The Winter’s Tale is a play about King Leontes’ jealousy and the consequences of his actions. Leontes had some baseless and unfounded jealousy that his wife was being unfaithful to him, which he could not explain. His feelings of resentment are frequently paralleled to those of Othello. Both Othello and King Leontes are wrongly accused of infidelity by their spouses, and the resulting repercussions have a negative impact on their families as well as the political balance.


Summary  of The Winter’s Tale

King Leontes of Sicily invites King Polixenes of Bohemia, a childhood acquaintance, to pay a visit to his island country. Polixenes visited Sicilia as invited. He stayed for nine months. Leontes requested him to stay there for a few more days. Polixenes resisted the need to leave the place. Additionally, Hermione pleaded with him to extend his stay in the castle. Leontes was envious of Polixenes’ decision to extend his stay by a few more days.

Leontes had a strong impression that Hermione and Polixenes were lovers. As a result, he directed Camillo to poison Polixenes. However, Camillo forewarned Polixenes. Camillo and Polixenes quickly escaped to Sicilia. He imprisoned his own wife during her pregnancy out of rage. Hermione gave birth in the prison.

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Paulina, the queen’s noblewoman, took the baby to Leontes in the hope that seeing the baby would change his opinion. Leontes, on the other hand, directed Paulina’s husband to abandon the infant in a remote location. If he hesitated, he threatened to murder his wife Paulina. Antigonus carried out the King’s orders.

Leontes dispatched messengers to inquire about Apollo’s oracle at Delphos. Hermione was declared innocent by the oracle. Additionally, it stated that Leontes would perish without an heir if the infant daughter was not discovered. The King was unconcerned with the news. However, he learned of Prince Mamillus’s death. Leontes made amends. Hermione, too, succumbed to grief.

Antigonus, in the meantime, transported the infant to Bohemia. Antigonus will never see his wife again, as he was responsible for the child’s desertion, Hermione’s spirit informed in his dream. He had already left gold and tokens for the little girl, which were discovered by a shepherd and his son. The shepherd pledged that he would raise the girl child as if she were his own.

It is been sixteen years. Camillo has been a courtier to the King of Bohemia since their expulsion from Sicilia. Camilo yearned to return to his country. Polixenes paused before dispatching this capable administrator. Polixenes learned that his son, Prince Florizell, had paid a visit to the place. As a result, he convinced Camillo to discover where he was going in disguise. He discovered that he had been pretending to visit the shepherd’s daughter.

Autolycus was dismissed from Prince Florizell’s service. He defrauded the Shepherd’s son of some money. He determined to make a profit during the sheep shearing event.

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Florizell and Perdita were infatuated. Perdita was terrified of what the King would do if he learned of their relationship. Florizell confessed his love for the shepherdess in front of his disguised father during the celebration. Florizell was promptly repudiated by the King, and Perdita was sentenced to death. Camillo assured the lovers that he would assist them.

Camillo invited them to the court of King Leontes, where they would be treated as honoured guests. He summoned Autoclycus to exchange clothing with the Prince in order for the Florizel to flee disguised. The shepherd and his son choose to alert the King of Perdita’s orphan status. Autolycus overheard this and resolved to advance his cause by assisting his Prince.

Florizell and Perdita arrived in Sicilia. Leontes greeted them warmly. The messenger informed Polixenes of his impending arrival in pursuit of his son. Leontes promised to represent Florizell. Perdita was the daughter of Leontes, Autolycus informed three gentlemen. Additionally, the shepherd and his son brought the goods discovered with Perdita.

Once again, the royal families became the closest of friends. They walked to Paulina’s house, where one artist had sculpted the lovely Hermione figure. Paulina resurrected Hermione as they were visiting the statue. Everyone is content. They were eventually reunited.

Questions
1. King Leontes’ childhood friend was ____.
2. Who took the baby to Bohemia?
3. Perdita was in love with ____.
4. Who came forward to help the lovers, when Perdita was ordered to
be executed?

Answers
1. King Polixenes
2. Antigonus
3. Florizell
4. Camillo

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