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Parenting is a main element of “The Winters Tale”. Discuss the contrast between Leontes, Hermione, Polixenes, the shepherd and the clown as parents.

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Introduction

Parenting is a main element of "The Winters Tale". Discuss the contrast between Leontes, Hermione, Polixenes, the shepherd and the clown as parents. As parents Leontes and Hermione have very different qualities as parents. Hermione is a strong character within the play and this quality helps to make her a strong and good mother. Leontes however has very different qualities. His jealousy and mistrust of his best friend Polixenes and his wife Hermione, along with his severe paranoia, make Leontes a poor parent. It is this attitude that makes him a poor parent. He mistrusts his own wife and this has a detrimental effect on them as a unit. However Leontes begins to redeem himself as the play progresses. In contrast to this couple the shepherd and the clown are extremely good parents. Even though these two are the same sex and much less well off than Leontes and Hermione they are much more effective as a parental unit. This is because the child that they are raising is a natural princess and it is in her genes to be a princess. I find it very interesting that Shakespeare chose to attribute the best parenting qualities to the parents who are of a lower social class. Leontes is the king of Sicilia. At the beginning of the play Leontes has one son named Mamillius and Leontes sees his son as the best thing in his life. ...read more.

Middle

In comparison the clown and shepherd are not the kind of parents that people see everyday. Neither of them is female so Perdita ends up having a substitute mother. Shakespeare does not make it clear which of the characters plays this role but it is clear that the combination of the two of them works well. Perdita, the child Leontes sent away, grows up with a group of poor shepherds' and this has a good effect rather than a bad one. Shakespeare did, however, write that there was "Gold, all gold" in the basket with the child. This will have helped the Shepherd and clown come to a decision about what to do with it. Shakespeare could also have meant this as comedy. Two people find a basket with gold in it and decide to take the baby so no guilt is felt. The fact that Perdita grows up in a stable environment is probably the reason that she turns out the way that she does it is an irony which Shakespeare writes well. Again it is intriguing the way he gives the best qualities to the lower class citizens. Their beliefs of her background are not entirely accurate. Shakespeare tells us that the shepherd and clown believed that the gold was "fairy gold" and the child was "a squire's child". This is a girl who has much decorum and is very dignified even though she has grown up with a group of shepherds and shepherdesses. ...read more.

Conclusion

Shakespeare wrote both rich parents and poor parents, in the winter's tale is the poor parents who seemed to be the better of the two sets. I particularly like the way That Shakespeare uses many different types of parents to Portray Different styles of parenting. Leontes Switches from being a good King to being a jealous tyrant and back again to being a respected figure. While Shakespeare was writing this play as a tragedy it suited the play to keep Leontes as a jealous tyrant However As it switched back to being a comedy Leontes needed to revert back to being respected figure that he was. The same goes for Polixenes; he also did the same as Leontes But not to such a great extent. His tyranny came after the play had switched to comedy. The way that he banned his son from seeing his love would have been funny in Shakespearean times. However once again we see a reformer in the parent. He 'comes around' to the idea of his son marrying the shepherd's ddaughter He rrealizes that she is actually a princess. So Shakespeare really uses the parents for both comical and tragic purposes. In my personal opinion on thing that this works best for comical purposes. As for parents being the main constituents of "the winter's tale" I disagree. There are many influences on the story; Parenting is only one of them I believe Shakespeare used parents to assist him in telling the story. ?? ?? ?? ?? Liam Bradford 1 ...read more.

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