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The Winter’s Tale

The Winter’s Tale

The Winter’s Tale Themes

Little Words, Big Ideas

Jealousy

The first three acts of The Winter’s Tale are a study of jealousy and its destructive effects. In the play, Leontes’s sudden and unfounded fear that his pregnant wife is sleeping with h...

Friendship

Like many of Shakespeare’s plays (Two Gentleman of Verona and The Merchant of Venice, especially) and The Sonnets, The Winter’s Tale examines the nature of male friendship. Bromance was...

Youth and Old Age

The Winter’s Tale dramatizes a divide between the younger generation and their parents. The older generation (Leontes and Polixenes) is responsible for the loss of innocence, the disunion of...

Gender

Leontes’s hateful ideas about women dominate the first three acts of The Winter’s Tale. After he convinces himself that his pregnant wife is having an affair and carrying another man...

Art and Culture

The Winter’s Tale participates in the ages old art vs. nature controversy. At the heart of the debate is the following question: Is artfulness (the creation of paintings, sculptures, plays, s...

Time

The Winter’s Tale is obsessed with time. The play goes out of its way to draw our attention to 1) time’s passage, 2) the way time can often appear to stand still, and 3) how some events...

Suffering

In the play, Leontes’s jealousy gives way to tyrannous behavior that causes immense pain suffering. Mammilius falls ill and dies when his mother is imprisoned and tried for adultery, Hermione...

Compassion and Forgiveness

While the first three acts of The Winter’s Tale are marked by the pain and suffering caused by Leontes’s jealousy, the latter half of the play is all about compassion, forgiveness, and...

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