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AS and A Level: The Winter's Tale

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  1. Character Analysis of Queen Hermione

    One could see that her role in the play is shallowly based on the traditional views of what a woman should act like in that period of time and era, and how to behave towards her husband: a passive, obedient and loving wife. This can be evident in her later speech while she's in trial: "So and no other, as yourself commanded". Indicating she only acted as such towards his friend because he had commanded her, following his orders out of love and respect for him.

    • Word count: 1519
  2. Winter's Tale Essay on Reference to the Gods and Fate

    Moreover, they are used to reflect other attitudes and values of the Jacobean Period. Prince Florizel is symbolic of spring, this is reinforced in the line "But Flora peering in Aprils Front," as Flora is the goddess of nature; furthermore the personification of April, could also be symbolic of the relationship between Florizel and Perdita, as April occurs in spring. Moreover, the reference to Flora could also be symbolic of Perdita's innocence and beauty, she is compared to nature, and as a result Shakespeare gives the effect that her beauty transcends the earthly.

    • Word count: 1052
  3. Leontes - Jealous Tyrant or Moving Figure?

    His paranoia is also shown in believing that he has 'seen the spider' in his cup, meaning he believes there is a plot to take his life and his crown. Shakespeare seems to suggest that jealousy is more than just an emotion but more like a disability, and through Leontes jealous his systematically destroyed his own life, being the cause of Hermione and Mamillius's death and also the abandonment of his second born, Perdita. The main point that shows Leontes for being a jealous tyrant is his imprisonment of the heavily pregnant Hermione, which we later discover leads to her untimely death.

    • Word count: 852
  4. The Winter's Tale - Bohemian Scenes

    On a more analytical level, this contrast is also made evident through the lines and language of the characters. In Sicilia, Polixenes announces: "My ships are ready, and My people did expect my hence departure Two days ago." In two lines he has shown his importance and grandeur through his reference to "his ships" and "his people". Equally, the fact that his people "expect" something of him shows his significance. When he is in Bohemia, however, we find him discussing the far more rustic subject of "gillyvors". Admittedly, this conversation does have a more kingly ulterior motive, but nevertheless, it is unlikely that such a subject matter would ever arise in Sicilia.

    • Word count: 1607
  5. The Winter's Tale - Leontes

    Leontes refers to Polixenes, who Camillo has already told us is a childhood friend, as "brother". In this circumstance, it is meant as a term of endearment. However, just 130 lines later, he asks Polixenes "How is't with you, best brother?". This time "brother", coupled with the sarcastic and equally plosive "best", rings hollow and contains little affection. It is also essential to understand his relationship with Hermione. In the second scene, she appears very docile. She does not speak until addressed as "our queen", again a term of endearment.

    • Word count: 1010
  6. The Winter's Tale - Paulina and Hermione

    He gusto is further shown as the Act progresses when she ignores one of the Lords' commands that she "must not enter" in order to present Leontes with his daughter. Equally, from her request to "let him have knowledge who I am", the audience can immediately infer that her position is one of significance. She further exerts her authority when she reassures the jailer when he fears what he "shall incur to pass" the Queen's newborn. Paulina simply responds, "you need not fear it, sir".

    • Word count: 939
  7. How do relationships succeed or fail in the Winter's Tale?

    Speak you. [1.2.27]. She respects that, in public, he must appear as the master in the relationship: I had thought, sir, to have held my peace until You had drawn oaths from him to stay [1.2.28-29] She expects him to do important things, and a Jacobean audience living in a patriarchal society would view her as a good subservient wife, but we will see that she also has her own opinions. Hermione's words above could be played in a mildly satirical manner, as if she is saying "I won't say anything without your oh so royal permission".

    • Word count: 2085
  8. Read the following extract from Act I Scene II of the play. How do the ideas and language of these speeches help to create the effect of Leontes' jealousy?

    He tells her that she has never spoken to better purpose since the day she agreed to marry him. Hermione replies graciously, and gives her hand to Polixenes. Leontes, aside, reacts to this gesture with suspicion. Looking at Hermione and Polixenes as they talk in a friendly way, jealousy rises in him. He thinks they are being much too familiar with each other. He addresses his son Mamillius, and tries to reassure himself that Mamillius is indeed his own son. He reminds himself that Mamillius resembles him, which should reassure him, yet he makes disparaging remarks about women they "will say any thing", jealousy and suspicion of his wife springs up stronger and stronger with each passing moment.

    • Word count: 1229
  9. Explore the ways in which Shakespeare presents Leontes and his turn into jealousy.

    This in my opinion is very important, as Shakespeare finds it necessary to establish his character in a good light before the incident where his mind begins to get "poisoned". Leontes' kindness and love for his friend, Polixenes is made evident by the use of the word "brother". Also though, Leontes does not declare love in the same way Hermione does, he still makes evident his affection and fondness of his wife. "Hermione, my dearest" In contrary to the portrayal of Leontes as seen earlier, he is totally presented in a different way the next time we meet his character.

    • Word count: 999
  10. Act 1 of "The Winter's tale",

    In that scene, everything had a double meaning and this scene mirrors it. "You pay a great deal too dear for what's given freely" Therefore although the outer appearance is that Leontes wants Polixenes to stay, the inner truth may be different, which would see the sudden accusations of an affair becoming more realistic to comprehend. So after this initial encounter, in which Polixenes protests he cannot stay any longer, he is adamant he is leaving, as shown in the final line.

    • Word count: 1488
  11. Examine Act 3 Scene 2 and consider its importance in the development of the plot, in the presentation of character and in the revelation themes, discussing also the effectiveness of the language.

    Soon after in Act 4 Scene 4, the audience learns of Perdita's fate. She and Florizel, Polixenes' son, wish to marry without the knowledge of Polixenes. Consequently when this is revealed to Polixenes, Perdita and Florizel with the help of Camillo decide to return to Sicilia where they hope Leontes will be happy to receive them. This is where Leontes' penitence in Sicilia becomes key. Shakespeare's reunion of all the major characters in Act 5 Scene 3 is purposeful as Hermione's entrance has greater impact.

    • Word count: 2184
  12. A Winter's Tale - Why is Leontes so jealous of Hermione and Polixenes and why does he think they are having an affair?

    Leontes then invites his wife to try persuading Polixenes to stay. She succeeds in talking Polixenes round into staying. This is the first point at which Leontes feels there is some kind of chemistry between Polixenes and Hermione and the start of his jealousy towards the two. Leontes feels that Polixenes is only staying as his love, Hermione, has asked him to. Leontes later says of Hermione "Let what is dead in Sicily be cheap" referring to what Leontes senses at that moment when Hermione succeeds in persuading Polixenes to stay.

    • Word count: 1008
  13. Having closely examined act 1 scene 2 of 'The Winter's Tale' what evidence can you find to explain Leontes jealousy? Do you feel Leontes was already jealous before the start of the scene? If so why?

    Hermione is pregnant and just about to give birth, therefore it is feasible that Polixenes could be the father. Leontes may suspect that his friend's desire to leave is due to the imminent birth of Hermione's baby "So soon as yours could win me" Polixenes is saying here that if anyone was going to succeed in persuading him to stay it would be Leontes but he really must go back to Bohemia. When Hermione manages to playfully bully Polixenes into staying longer, Leontes seems hurt; "At my request he would not."

    • Word count: 859
  14. The Winter's Tale: Tragedy in Acts 1-3.

    premature thoughts and actions could result in disaster for his people, kingdom and his family Later on Leontes speaks of his certainty that the two are having an affair,' they mother plays' indicating sexual misbehaviour and 'Inch-thick, knee-deep,' here Leontes states how they are both wading more deeply into sin. So as we can see here Leontes seems to be completely convinced himself that there is a relationship between the two and one can see the possibility of him losing his mind completely.

    • Word count: 1228
  15. "The Winter's Tale:" 'The Madness of Leontes appears with terrifying speed and threatens to destroy the world around him.' Discuss.

    that he does not understand her when she says her eloquence has gained her 'for ever a royal husband' and 'for some while a friend.' He does not listen to her when she clearly states the difference between himself and Polixenes, this is an example of a much repeated symptom of his madness, he only hears what he wants to hear. The speed with which Leontes' mind becomes 'infected' (as Leontes himself describes the madness) is so great that it has lead some critics ( F.R.

    • Word count: 1293
  16. How does Shakespeare Develop the Character of Leontes in the Opening Scenes of the Play?

    He is obviously still resentful towards Hermione due to the "three crabbed months" which "soured themselves to death." This spiteful remark shows how insecure Leontes is, as it took him three months to get Hermione to open her "white hand," whereas in his mind it took Polixenes a matter of days - they later affectionately play with each others hands - "paddling palms and pinching fingers." Leontes' soliloquy in Act I Scene II shows the extent of his paranoia -"to mingle friendship far is mingling bloods."

    • Word count: 968
  17. Some critics have claimed that the structure of "The Winters Tale is clumsy - Others have claimed it to be a masterpiece of skilful construction - What are your views?

    I think Shakespeare has used these winter months to portrays a sense of old age and lack of life. All this dark and dull d�cor in the country, Shakespeare may also be trying to signify Leontes' dark, jealous thoughts about Hermione. "too hot, too hot! To mingle friendship far is mingling bloods." Bohemia on the other hand is set in the spring time which is full of light and colour signalling new life. It is set in the country with a very rustic culture. Many of the people in this country are peasants and do not have a very good education which causes na�vety amongst there way of life which results to innocence and young love.

    • Word count: 1696
  18. An exploration of Shakespeare’s presentation of the different forms of love in 'The Winters Tale'.

    He sees women as objects, devoted to him and taking care of his childish behaviour. We see that Leontes is a passionate, obsessive man almost immediately in Act One, Scene Two. Leontes is attempting to convince Polixenes to stay and requests Hermione's assistance. When she succeeds, however, he becomes suspicious of the closeness of their relationship and implies Hermione has never shown him such conviction - even making him wait "three crabbed months" before agreeing to marry him. The bitterness Leontes feels is clear from his harsh language and it seems that his jealousy has tainted their past as well as their future.

    • Word count: 2645
  19. "The true interest of 'The Winter's Tale' lies not with Leontes but rather with the female characters - abused Hermione, faithful and tenacious Paulina and the beautiful, chaste and innocent Perdita."

    Paulina is "faithful and tenacious" and in some ways similar to the character of Emilia from 'Othello'. She stays close to her Lady and looks after her when she is supposedly dead for sixteen years. Paulina also takes a great interest in the King and his security and sanity. Perdita (the lost child) is similar to the character of Miranda from 'The Tempest'. She is "beautiful", "chaste" and "innocent". Her identity is hidden. By making these comparisons we can see parallels between other Shakespearean characters and the women of the play.

    • Word count: 2589
  20. The painful moment when Polixenes forbids his son's marriage shows that although Bohemia is a healing place it is not a paradise. What is your response to Shakespeare's presentation of Bohemia in the design of the play as a whole?

    We are plunged immediately into a world that is completely different from the wintertime Sicilia of the earlier action. Bohemia was an oppressive winter wilderness when Antigonus landed there, but with the entrance of Autolycus it has become a different place. As his song reminds us, "When daffodils begin to peer, / When heigh! The doxy over the dale, / Why, then comes in the sweet o'the year, / For the red blood reigns in the winter's pale." Winter has given way to "the sweet o'the year," a time of flowers and fairy tales rather than jealousy and death.

    • Word count: 1339
  21. How do the ideas and languages of these speeches help to create the effect of Leontes' jealousy?

    their wives tended to sleep around and these men were looked down upon by society. Now Leontes is a king and if it were found out that his queen was having an affair, he would be completely destroyed by the society who looked up to him and what Shakespeare s implying that he would have the thickest cuckold. None of his assumptions are true, but this is what he thinks and because he himself is not entirely sure he seeks answers in Camillo.

    • Word count: 865
  22. It has been said that The Winter's Tale falls into two distinct halves. What relationships, if any, can you see between the two parts of the play?

    Through time's personification in Act IV, Scene 1, the audience is informed that sixteen years have passed. Already there are links as in his speech, Time says, 'I that please some, try all; both joy and terror/ Of good and bad; that makes and unfolds error/ Now take upon me, in the name of Time, / To use my wings.' Here Time foretells the restoration and righting of wrongs of the second half of the play and the healing powers of time are implied.

    • Word count: 1404
  23. "What do we learn about Leontes in Act 1? How does Shakespeare dramatically portray his character?"

    Leontes seems to understand the word "friend" to mean lover, as it so often did at the time. This travesty continues with a further confusion of conventional ideas of the time about friendship and love: 'To mingle friendship is mingling bloods' (I.2.109). The mingling of bloods, though thought a barbaric practice, was known as a sign of friendship. Also, the Greek philosopher Aristotle once referred to sexual intercourse as the mingling of bloods. Leontes' paranoia increases, and his concrete belief that Hermione is being unfaithful to him causes him often to come across as being insane.

    • Word count: 1506
  24. What atmosphere is created in Act IV of A Winter's Tale and Why?

    Florizel and Perdita fall/have fallen in love). This creates a slightly tense atmosphere right at the beginning of Act 4, a crucial stage in the play. The suspicion that the audience has of Florizel and Perdita being in love is immediately confirmed by Polixenes and Camillo - "when saw'st thou the Prince Florizel my son?" "I have eyes under...look upon his removedness...house of a homely shepherd," and sends a spark of amusement through the audience because their suspicions have been confirmed.

    • Word count: 1150
  25. Parenting is a main element of “The Winters Tale”. Discuss the contrast between Leontes, Hermione, Polixenes, the shepherd and the clown as parents.

    Shakespeare portrays Leontes as an apparently stable and good parent who is as effective as Hermione "go play Mamillius; thou'rt an honest man" and "why, that's my bawcock-what hast thou smutched thy nose". However as the play progresses we see that this is definitely not the case. In a sudden switch Leontes slips from being a good stable person and parent to being a jealous tyrant and paranoid king. This switch happens over a matter of thirty lines, from "to mingle friendship far is mingling bloods" to "and hardning of my brows" in around thirty lines, and is much like Leontes turns the jealousy on a good quotation to show this is "I have tremor cordis on me".

    • Word count: 1840

Conclusion analysis

Good conclusions usually refer back to the question or title and address it directly - for example by using key words from the title.
How well do you think these conclusions address the title or question? Answering these questions should help you find out.

  1. Do they use key words from the title or question?
  2. Do they answer the question directly?
  3. Can you work out the question or title just by reading the conclusion?
  • Discuss the presentation and significance of the relationship between Florizel and Perdita.

    "In conclusion, the relationship of Florizel and Perdita is presented in a positive idea where everything is softer and gentle; this idea is used to show the contrasts between the two parts of the play. Their relationship is also significant in the development of themes, especially in change and renewal. Their actions for their relationship affects the other characters positively and brings a sense of hope for the future."

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