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The Winter’s Tale

The Winter’s Tale

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The Winter’s Tale Art and Culture Quotes

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Quote #1

such a deal of wonder is broken out within this hour that ballad-makers cannot be able to express it. Here comes the Lady Paulina's steward: he can deliver you more. How goes it now, sir? this news which is called true is so like an old tale, that the verity of it is in strong suspicion: has the king found his heir? (5.2.1)


The Second Gentleman’s description of the fantastical unfolding of events that led up to Perdita’s reunion with her father draws our attention to the implausibility of Shakespeare’s story. There’s so much “wonder” in it that even “ballad-makers” (writers who composed ballads out of news stories) would have a hard time conveying the details of how Leontes's “found his heir.” The whole thing sounds more like an “old” winter’s tale, which is a great story but one that doesn’t have much credit. Here, it seems that Shakespeare is acknowledging the implausibility of his own play/work of art.

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