A bravura blend of tragedy, comedy and romance, Shakespeare's emotionally potent late play explores artifice and nature, mortality and renewal, and the destructive and consoling effects of time.
Though sometimes classified as a 'problem play' for its mix of turbulent emotional and light-hearted comedy, William Shakespeare's The Winter's Tale is a timeless study of jealousy and desire. This Penguin Shakespeare edition is edited by Ernest Schanzer with an introduction by Russ McDonald.
'You may as well
Forbid the sea for to obey the moon
As or by oath remove or counsel shake
The fabric of his folly'
Leontes, the jealous King of Sicily becomes convinced that his wife, Hermione is carrying the child of his best friend Polixenes. Imprisoned and put on trial, the Queen collapses when the King refuses to accept the divine confirmation of her innocence. The child is abandoned to die on the coast of Bohemia. Sixteen years later, Polixenes' son Prince Florizel, incurs his father's wrath by eloping with Perdita, the daughter of a local shepherd. But Perdita's origins are not as humble as they appear...
This book includes a general introduction to Shakespeare's life and the Elizabethan theatre, a separate introduction to The Winter's Tale, a chronology, suggestions for further reading, an essay discussing performance options on both stage and screen, and a commentary.
William Shakespeare (1564-1616) was born to John Shakespeare and Mary Arden some time in late April 1564 in Stratford-upon-Avon. He wrote about 38 plays (the precise number is uncertain), many of which are regarded as the most exceptional works of drama ever produced, including Romeo and Juliet (1595), Henry V (1599), Hamlet (1601), Othello (1604), King Lear (1606) and Macbeth (1606), as well as a collection of 154 sonnets, which number among the most profound and influential love-poetry in English.
If you enjoyed The Winter's Tale, you might like Shakespeare's As You Like It, also available in Penguin Shakespeare.
'The work of Shakespeare is virtually infinite'
Jorge Luis Borges