"The winters tale" by Shakespeare.

Essay by cazualtyC+, April 2003

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Analyze the structural arrangements of themes and/or scenes in one or more plays.

The play that I shall be discussing in this essay is The Winter's Tale. If we are to look at the genre that the play falls under then this may lead us to understand the structural arrangements. The play appears to be split into two 'parts', the first taking place in Sicilia and the second in Bohemia. The play falls under the genre of romance, which in Shakespeare time referred to a play that was both comic and tragic. In the same way as The Winter's Tale is considered so is Troilus and Cressida, it was included in the Folio under the section of tragedy, whilst in the preface to the 1609 quarto it was referred to as 'witty as the best comedy in Terence or Plautus'. One reason for this mixing of genre has been explained as a way of mitigating the forms overwhelming effects, hence the comic scenes are used to enhance the tragic.

In this way The Winter's Tale can be viewed in terms of the two settings. In the first half of the play it is set in Sicilia, a courtly setting appropriate for the serious nature of events. The hardness of the surroundings compliments what is happening, the tragedy of the accusation, and the deaths of Mamillius and Hermione. The play then adopts a pastoral setting of fantasy and magic in Bohemia in the forth act. This new location brings about a more light hearted, comic element to the play in which the love of Perdita and Florizel is able to blossom. However it is then necessary to return to Sicilia for the conclusion of the play which has a more serious note, creating a play of wisdom, reconciliation and...