April 18, 2012
The Winter’s Tale Critique
The Winter’s Tale is a tragedy by William Shakespeare that consists of many twists and turns throughout its plot but for the most part has a happy ending. One of the most important, powerful, and unstable characters in the entire play is King Leontes. He undergoes numerous emotional, psychological, and physical changes throughout the work. All of these changes inevitably cause innocent people more hardship then they truly deserve as well as unneeded stress and grief on the king himself.
At the beginning of the play, the king finds himself in a happy, love filled family with his wife Hermoine and their son Mamillius as well as another baby on the way. However, when his lifelong friend Polixenes visits with them, he notices how well the queen and his friend get along and becomes insanely jealous. He begins to question his wife’s loyalty to him and even starts to wonder if his son is truly his. After he drives himself crazy with the possibility of his wife and his best friend’s imaginary adulterous acts, he demands one of his servants to kill his best friend Polixenes.
After he believes Polixenes is out of the picture, his focus turns to his queen and he has her thrown into jail to wait for trial. While the queen is in jail, she gives birth to their baby girl and has the newborn daughter brought to Leontes. He is so set on the fact that the baby could not possibly be his that he demands the child to be put to death but then decides to have her taken to a place far away and left there to let fate decide if she dies or survives.
Soon after giving birth, Queen Hermoine is put on trial for her “unjust” acts. She gives a heartfelt testimony and attempts to make the king realize that she has not wronged him. The king is so full of rage, hate, and power that he will not listen to anything she or anyone else has to say on the matter. He truly believes that everyone who stands...