© 2016 Shmoop University, Inc. All rights reserved.
The Winter’s Tale

The Winter’s Tale


by William Shakespeare

Analysis: Steaminess Rating

Exactly how steamy is this story?


We’re giving The Winter’s Tale a PG-13 rating, mostly because Leontes has a dirty mind and quite a way with words. When he suspects that his faithful and very pregnant wife, Hermione, is doing the deed with his childhood BFF, Leontes’s imagination runs wild. What? You want an example? Of course you do. At one point, Leontes vividly imagines that his wife’s vagina is a gate that’s been penetrated by a military enemy (1.2.18), which you can read all about in “Quotes” for the theme of “Jealousy.”

There’s no actual sex on stage in the play, but, as we know, Shakespeare has a talent for using language to conjure up some pretty graphic images. Plus, this being a Shakespeare play, dirty jokes and bawdy songs are par for the course.

People who Shmooped this also Shmooped...