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The Winter’s Tale

The Winter’s Tale


by William Shakespeare

Analysis: Booker's Seven Basic Plots Analysis

Christopher Booker is a scholar who wrote that every story falls into one of seven basic plot structures: Overcoming the Monster, Rags to Riches, the Quest, Voyage and Return, Comedy, Tragedy, and Rebirth. Shmoop explores which of these structures fits this story like Cinderella’s slipper.

Plot Type : Comedy

Shadow of Darkness

Leontes experiences a sudden onset of jealousy.

Things at the Sicilian court seem peachy until, out of nowhere, Leontes suspects his pregnant wife is having an affair with his best friend, Polixenes, who is visiting from Bohemia. Leontes plots the secret murder of his BFF.

Pressure of Darkness

After Polixenes escapes Sicily, there’s hell to pay.

Leontes throws Hermione in the slammer, where she gives birth to a daughter that Leontes refuses to acknowledge as his own. He orders Antigonus to abandon baby Perdita in the desert. Hermione is tried for adultery and treason; meanwhile, Mammilius (the son of Hermione and Leontes) dies of a broken heart. Hermione faints and is soon pronounced dead, leaving Leontes to repent and suffer for sixteen long years.

Everything Comes To Light

Perdita is recovered and Hermione is alive!

Perdita is raised by an old shepherd in Bohemia, where she meets and falls in love with Prince Florizel (the son of Polixenes). When the couple travels to Sicily, her identity as a princess and heir to the Sicilian throne is uncovered. Perdita and Leontes reunite as father and daughter and Leontes and Polixenes reunite as BFFs. Finally, Paulina shows everyone a statue of Hermione, which turns out not to be a statue at all – it’s the real Hermione. She’s alive and well and totally forgives Leontes.

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