• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Explore the way that Shakespeare uses female characters in The Winter's Tale. How far would their roles be acceptable to a modern audience?

Extracts from this document...


Explore the way that Shakespeare uses female characters in the play. How far would their roles be acceptable to a modern audience? 'The Winter's Tale' written by Shakespeare was one of his four last plays or 'late romances' that he wrote. It has been categorised in the four last plays because it shares similar features to 'The Tempest,' , 'Pericles, Prince of Tyre,' and, 'Cymbeline,' as they have a redemptive plotline with a happy ending involving the reuniting of long separated family members, magical and other fantastical elements, a mixture of civilized and pastoral scenes and a young virginal character who restores happiness. Although, the late romances share commonalities with Shakespeare's earlier plays like 'Twelfth Night,' they are considered to have a unique style with elements of tragicomedy and masques integrated with comedy, romance and pastoral that although they are contrasting emotions create a sense of balance and moderation. They have therefore become coherent, appealing and dramatically effective plays. 'The Winter's Tale' was one of the Four last plays that Shakespeare wrote and like most of his plays, it contains a range of themes. ...read more.


You, my lord, do but mistake." Her speech makes the reader speak in a slow and calm manner and also suggesting sophistication whereas, Leontes appears to be immature and out of control. Shakespeare also makes her role dramatic because she is not angry at Leontes, she feels sorry for him. Shakespeare also presents her role as dramatically effective partly because to do with the attitude of the other characters also being testimony to Hermione's character. The words of a minor character, a Lord, are typical: "For her, my lord...I dare lay my life down, and will do't, sir," he says to Leontes. No one other than Leontes has a bad word to say about Hermione, and Paulina is moved to defend her with all the energy she has. The fact that the other characters react so emotionally to defend Hermione proves her character to be so gracious. Leonte's reacts with extreme jealousy and over-the-top and erratic behaviour because he believes that Hermione has been unfaithful and this shocks even himself. He reacts in the way he does because to him she is perfect and he loves her so much and for her ...read more.


When Shakespeare first introduces Paulina to the audience, she is attempting to visit Hermione in prison. Her great power is demonstrated as she intimidates the guard who eventually defers to her authority and allows her entry to see her "gracious queen." Perdita provides the romance in the play and is the subject of Florizel's affections. Shakespeare gives him a number of speeches to direct towards Perdita, including, "When you speak, sweet...I'd have you do it ever: when you sing,...I'd have you buy and sell so, so give alms, ...Pray so, and, for the ord'ring of your affairs...to sing them too: when you do dance, I wish you...A wave o' the sea, that you might ever do...Nothing but that, move still, still so...And own no other function." Perdita is compared to Proserpina (a mythical God) who represents spring. Perdita is like Proserpina in that she, too, brings the spring, she is crowned with flowers, and dispenses them to all the guests, and the audience feels that with the introduction of Perdita "The Winter's Tale" takes a turn from the black and white ruins of Bohemia to the colourful, pastoral countryside introduced in Act 4. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE The Winters Tale section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related GCSE The Winters Tale essays

  1. How does Shakespeare present relationships between men and women in The Winter's Tale, ...

    Leontes implies her apparent death to be divine retribution on him for denying the oracle (the extent of Leontes' reliance of his false beliefs is indicated by his initial refusal to believe the oracle), just as he deems Mamillius' death to be so.

  2. review for "the winters tale "

    During the second part of the play in Australia, all of the items on it were replaced with hay. The projection was used to establish the location; on which images were projected. On the opposite side of the stage there was a similar box like object but with a curtain slung from the ceiling to the ground.

  1. "The Winter's Tale" written by William Shakespeare.

    Polixenes hears about the relationship and he and Camillo visit, disguised, a feast given by the shepherd .When Florizel tries to give his hand to Perdita refusing to inform his father about it, Polixenes takes away his disguise and curses him and calls him to court to bar him from succession.

  2. How are women represented in "The Winter's Tale"? How might a modern audience react ...

    This technique employed by Shakespeare is illustrating a clear division between which of the characters upon stage we are to support in the court case. It is certainly possible that Shakespeare based the character of Hermione on the medieval idea of female Patience.

  1. Explore the role of women in 'The Winters Tale'

    "The bug which you would fright me with, I seek". In this speech, Hermione is very angry " sir spare your threats". The fact that she trivialises his threats shows courage. The use of clear direct language and monosyllables gives the effect of unemotional language.

  2. "The Winters Tale is not so much about the triumph of time but the ...

    It is only on the return of Perdita and through Hermione's 'resurrection', that normality is restored to the lives of the men. This emphasises the strength of women through male dependence. Shakespeare adopted this view and was more sympathetic towards females later in life and these morals can be seen

  1. It has been said that in "The Winter's Tale" Shakespeare dramatises the contemporary struggle ...

    In terms of theatrical presentation this is very dramatic because the baby is actually on stage, so when Leontes orders the baby and the mother to be killed "together with the dam/Commit them to the fire." Whether a modern audience, or a Jacobean audience, both would have been extremely shocked at Leontes' irrational behaviour.

  2. Discuss the roles and dramatic significance of the three main female characters in the ...

    This portrays her affection towards Mamillius and this kindness is again demonstrated during act 2 scene 1 as she is first accused of her dishonesty. She speaks mildly of her delusional husband and she first takes his accusations as a joke.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work