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Winter's Tale Essay on Reference to the Gods and Fate

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Adeebah Iqbal Examine Shakespeare's References To The Gods and Fate, Here and Elsewhere in the Play The belief of fate, and the role of the Gods in deciding this fate, was a common conviction held in Jacobean times. It is an occurring theme throughout The Winters Tale, with many references to various Gods and Goddesses being made throughout. In addition, the strength of the values and beliefs held towards prophecy and fate is shown through the faith put into the Oracle, by Hermione and Leontes, as well as their subjects; for example when Hermione is put on trial Leontes believes the words of the oracle over those of Hermione and Polixenes, and Hermione herself suggests that an oracle should be consulted. As well as the symbolic meanings of the various gods, Shakespeare uses various linguistic tools within the extract, these not only convey the characteristics of Florizel and Perdita, but also their feelings about themselves and for each other. ...read more.


Furthermore, the use of pastoral imagery such as "ram" and "bull" juxtaposes the grand lexis used to describe the gods, for example "Golden Apollo" this suggests the strong contrast between the grandeur with which Florizel associates the gods, and therefore himself, compared to a rural lifestyle or people. Also, Both Jupiter and Neptune are changing to "rams" and "bulls" in the extract, this is symbolic of Florizel's "transformation" to look like a "humble swain" out of his love for Perdita; this is yet another example of Florizel likening himself to the gods. In addition, the pre qualifier and compound adjective "fire-robed god" used to describe "Golden Apollo" contains assonance in the "o" sound, as does "Golden Apollo," the assonance of the 'o' is a harmonic sound and further reinforces Florizel's love for Perdita, additionally this is a comparison of their love as being equal to that of Golden Apollo. ...read more.


Perdita is a key example of the theme of not being what you seem; this is seen throughout the novel, for example, it is seen through Autolycus, the rebel, who poses as a nobleman. Another key theme within the play is that of prophecy, for example Leontes consults the oracle who prophesises that "Hermione is chaste...the king shall live without an heir, if that which is lost be not found." This is proleptic of the ending, and reconciliation of the play, when the statue of Hermione is revealed, and also of Leontes' reconciliation with Perdita. In conclusion, both Perdita and Florizel make many references to the Gods and fate. Shakespeare uses lexis which juxtaposes the pastoral language surrounding Perdita with the grand language surrounding the gods and Fate, this shows both Perdita's and Florizel's views on the difference in their background, but also their god-like opinions of each other, therefore reinforcing their strong love for one another. In addition, Shakespeare uses references to fate to create a strong sense of irony within the play, as Perdita is ignorant of her fate as a queen. ...read more.

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