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GCSE: The Winters Tale
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Hermione is a typical 17th century lady and throughout this trial scene she is portrayed as a very calm and dignified character, "I doubt not then but innocence shall make/ false accusation blush, and tyranny/ tremble at patience." In this quote Hermione is saying calmly that when Leontes finds out the truth he will be embarrassed and ashamed that he did not believe his wife. Shakespeare is showing that although Hermione has been falsely accused of having an affair with Polixenes, she does not loose her temper and instead she protests her innocence with a polite attitude, "what I am to say must be but that which contradicts my accusation."
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How are women represented in "The Winter's Tale"? How might a modern audience react to this representation?
Paulina also manages to convince the male characters that Hermione is innocent, indicating a reasonable degree of power. Leontes insults anybody who agrees with Paulina or, more importantly, anybody who disagrees with him, for example, Antigonus, who is Paulina's husband. Shakespeare's portrayal of Leontes, who has a low opinion of the women in the play, reflects predominant contemporary male attitudes. His statement to Antigonus regarding Paulina shows that he expects the man to be dominant, "What? Canst not rule her?"
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This happens in Act 2 sc 1 when Leontes takes Mamilius away from Hermione, she asks, "what is this? Sport?" Leontes takes it to have a more sinister meaning. In Act 2 Sc1 We see how Hermione is able to tune into other people and speak whichever language is appropriate. When Mamilius says he has a story to tell of "sprites and goblins", Hermione knows how to make him feel important, "you're powerful at it". She gives him her undivided attention.
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"How far do you think that the play is about the struggle for power between men and women? In forming your response, evaluate the different critical standpoints & consider the importance of historical context."
Many critics have lambasted the female characters in his plays as two-dimensional and unrealistic portrayals of subservient women. Others have asserted that the roles of women in his plays were prominent for the time and culture that he lived in. Shakespeare's female characters are presented in a way that females can associate with, as opposed to the stereotypical Clich� of acquiescent women often portrayed by male writers. Critic Kathleen McLuskie urges feminists to "assert the power of resistance, subverting rather than co-opting the domination of the patriarchal Bard", I disagree with this statement, and I think that Shakespeare's portrayal is
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Consider how play writes make characters speak in play's you have studied and say how the language and tone of these dialogs, conversations, or monologues, contribute to the play as a whole.
It is a phase asked by Paulina to Gerardo and vice versa. It reflects that they both have hidden secrets, which create separation between them. This separation is created by a lack of openness and trust in the couple. By analysing this quotation we can find another connotation, this one is about the country. The country as well as Paulina and Gerardo, has lots of secrets mainly about abuses and corruption. These hidden secrets are too uncomfortable for being revealed. For instance Paulina's violation is hard to revealed as it deeply hurts Paulina and Gerardo.
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“A sad tale’s best for winter. What then is the value of the comic elements of The Winter’s Tale?”
Shakespeare conforms to his own, and classical tradition, with his approach to seasonal changes, in fortune, "No enemy / But winter and rough weather"2, and tone as the plot progresses into the fourth act of The Winter's Tale. The court of Sicilia is the setting for the tragic suspicions of Leontes; the subsequent flight of Polixenes and Camillo; the trial of Hermione and the fates of the two children, Mamillius and Perdita. The playwright designates Sicilia to be the land that is set in the audience's mind as wintry, bleak and ill fortuned in the first three acts of the play.
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