By Ann B.
When I found out that Courting the Classics was reviewing Shakespeare this month, I just had to throw my two cents in about my favorite play, A Winter’s Tale. I’m sure most of you are thinking, “What? I’ve never heard of that play,” and the sad fact is that is probably true. It’s one of the lesser known plays, and though it is included in the comedies, the fact that it isn’t produced more often is a tragedy. That said, I will tell you to not read this play. Shakespeare is best experienced on stage. Find a company that is performing it and go see it! Although, if you can’t find one, reading it aloud will help with the language.
We start out with King Leontes of Sicilia having a fit of jealousy. He infuriates me as he attempts to poison his best friend, King Polixenes of Bohemia, sends his newborn daughter (who he is sure is Polixenes’), Perdita, off to be abandoned, ignores the word of the oracle that his wife, Hermione, is innocent of adultery, causes his son to die of a broken heart over his mother, which then causes his wife to die. Hermione’s attendant, Paulina, whom I love, confronts Leontes with all he’s wrought, and then he decides that maybe the oracle is right. A bit late, if you ask me. And that’s just the beginning!
Meanwhile, the servant who was supposed to abandon baby Perdita, on the coast of Bohemia of all places, is having an attack of conscience. But that’s interrupted by an attack by a bear. While the bear enjoys his tasty lunch of servant, an old shepherd and his son find the baby girl and take and raise her as their daughter and sister. The chorus then comes on stage to inform us that sixteen years has passed. It should be noted that good Polixenes has a son just Perdita’s age. Guess who meet at the spring fair.
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