Thursday, 25 October 2012

Tone and Mood

    Tone refers to the writer’s attitude or emotions towards a particular subject or the readers that are portrayed in his writing. Thus, the tone shows exactly how the writer feels and is essential to communicating a particular message. The tone affects how the reader interprets what is said and therefore the writer usually writes to a specific audience and is conscious of his tone.
     The first three acts of Winter’s Tale carries with it a dark tone. This is done to effectively illustrate the tragic events. This tone is created due to the jealousy of Leontes which leads to many other tragic events. This dark tone reveals to the audience that Shakespeare views jealousy as being a very dark and destructive emotion.
     However, from act 4 which is fast forward to a period 16 years later, the tone shifts to a more festive and joyous tone. This tone is injected through the use of comedic characters and also a new found love is introduced between Florizel and Perdita. This tone reveals that the writer has a positive attitude and views love as being blissful.
     Very often mood and tone are used interchangeably because they correlate. However, mood refers the feeling or state of mind of the reader while reading a piece of literature. It is an inclination developed by the words, phraseology and devices used by a writer. Often times the things said have both latent and a manifest meaning and consequently have a parallel affect on the reader. In the first half of the play a sad mood is created through the tragic events while in the other half a more tranquil and joyous mood is created in the reader.

The elements of a tragedy

      Aristotle asserts that a tragedy is “ is the story of a tragic hero who is a man of high social class, such as a king, who has a change of fortune, usually from good to bad. Shakespeare’s tragedies are based on Aristotle’s definition of a tragedy. Aristotle further identifies six elements of a tragic story which include the plot,character,diction,thought,spectacle and song.
     Of these elements the most important is the plot (a series of events)and all other elements are built into it. This is very important because the actions that take place within the plot are what make the play a tragedy. In the plot several other important elements must be present to constitute a tragedy especially in Shakespearean plays. Those include:a tragic flaw,supernatural events,conflict,fate and paradox of life.
     A tragic flaw is “a personality trait that leads to the downfall of the protagonist.” In Winter’s Tale this character trait of Leontes would be his jealousy which leads to his wrongful and unjust actions. It is this tragic flaw that leads the downfall of the protagonist. This element is applicable to many Shakespeare tragedies and is important to the rising and falling action in the play.
     Supernatural events are also important aspects of the plot that are used to create a tragedy. This is a common element to all Shakespearean plays.  Supernatural powers determine the fate of characters who engage in unrighteous deeds. Also, the demise of the protagonist is determined by supernatural powers for as seen in Winter’s Tale, God’s and prophecies are what determine subsequent events and the outcome of the play.
     Also, conflict is also a very crucial part of the plot which composes a tragedy. What is a good play without conflict? It leads to the climax of the play. Furthermore,the conflict between two characters usually ends with one of them reaching to their doom or suffering some loss which is the essence of a tragedy. Such conflict evident in Winter’s Tale would include: the issues in the relationship between Leontes and Polixenes which causes him to lose his children and wife.
      Linked to many of the elements stated is the fate or fortune of the main characters. Though many of the other elements should exist, it is the turnout of events that makes the play a tragedy.  The downfall of him/her is due to his fate or fortune and this downfall also affects the fate of others in play.
     Lastly,when speaking about a paradox of life, it is necessary to note the previous happiness of the tragic hero and his demise rooted later in the play. The vast difference between these two aspects of the play gives rise to a tragedy as it brings about an irony of events which makes the events unfortunate
     F.Scott Fitzgerald wrote a statement which is very famous around the world today. He said “Show me a hero and I will write you a tragedy,” asserting any story can become a tragedy just by the existence of hero to transform into a tragic hero through unfortunate events solely based on the elements listed above. Such intricacies are what make a story a tragedy.

Monday, 22 October 2012

Importance of Disguise in Winter's tale

     Disguise is an element used in many Shakespeare plays for similar reasons. It adds drama to the play and is used to accomplish a particular goal. Shakespeare mostly uses disguise as a form of trickery or falsification.
     Autolycus uses disguises to engage in his trickery as these two variables go hand in hand. He disguises himself as a peddler selling goods to gain access to the Shepherds sheep-bearing feast. His disguise was a necessity to keep him from being recognized by Clown noting that he had robbed him. His disguises are also important for him to gain what he wanted (money).
     Similarly, Polixenes disguised himself to gain access to the Shepherds residence to inquire into his sons affairs. His disguise was essential to hiding the fact that he is the King.
     Perdita also uses a disguise even unknown to herself. She is disguised as a poor girl not knowing that she is actually a Princess. This is an aspect of the plot which only occurs given the sequence of events. This element of disguise is important to the unfolding of the plot.
     Additonally,Florizel disguises himself as Doricles to hide his true identity as Prince and to cause Perdita to impute that he is an ordinary person as she presumes she is. This was used to highlight the importance of looking beyond the wealth or outward appearance of an individual; His disguise is used to hide his wealth and to test Perdita’s heart. Florizel wanted her to love him for his internal characteristics and not his riches.
     Thus, the importance of disguise is to hide the truth. In Winter’s tale it hid the truth only so that it could be revealed later in the play as an element of drama and surprise.

The Role of Autolycus

     Act 4 begins the “spring(joyful)” aspect of the play. It is where the comedic element of the play is introduced. This comedic portion is juxtaposed with the tragedy in the first three Acts, making the play a tragicomedy. This Act lightens the atmosphere of the play with the use of characters like Clown and Autolycus.
     Autolycus is a peddler who is involved in trickery such as picking pockets. His role in the play is crucial although it is miniscule because he infuses bliss into the hearts of viewers.
     Bringing about this comedic aspect is one of the roles of Autolycus. This is done when he acts as if he had been robbed of his clothes just to pick Clown’s pocket. For even more hilarity he proceeds to describe the robber using the exact features and name that he himself holds. Clown,living up to his name, could not see through Autolycus’s obvious but clever trickery.
     Also,on a more serious note Autolycus helps Perdita and Florizel to escape-His trickeries were not only used for bad but for good. This makes his role vital because without his assistance in the escape of the two lovers, the plot would have been lacking particular components.
     These few acts done by Autolycus makes him a very important character in the play.

Thursday, 11 October 2012

Essay on foreshadowing in winter;s tale

      Fore-shadowing refers to an oblique reference made before-hand to suggest something that would take place subsequently. This is an element used in many plays or stories as in Winter’s Tale. In many plays it is used in some ironic form all for the pleasure of the reader. It takes a keen eye, however, to identify most foreshadowed events.
      The first evidence of foreshadowing in the play takes place in a dialogue between Camillo and Archidamus. It is used in an extremely subtle way such that it may not be fore-seeable to the naked eye (without keen attention or scrutiny). Both men converse about the two kings (Polixenes and Leontes). The main subject of the conversation was their relationship as childhood friends. They imputed that the Kings had such an extraordinary friendship that nothing could break their bond;they were inseparable-“They were trained together in their childhoods; and there rooted betwixt them then such an affection,which cannot choose but branch now.
      This was paradoxically foreshadowing the subsequent events-the end to their relationship. The words said by Archidamus and Camillo heightened the expectations of readers in terms of the relations between the two Kings only to let them down. Moreover,the words used in the dialogue to describe their relationship(“rooted betwixt them,” “ there is not in the world either malice or matter to alter it.”) made it seem comepletely unlikely for their bond to be broken,then in actuality the  ‘green eyed monster’(jealousy), as it is rightfully called in Christian mythology, made its attack.
      Additionally,in the same dialogue between Camillo and Archidamus remarks were made by about Mamillius. It was said that “Mamillius: it is agentleman of the greatest promise,” and that “they that went on crutches ere he was born desire yet their life to see him a man.” These comments foreshadowed his early death because they spoke about his future being bright and that persons were eagerly waiting for him to become a man and take his place as heir to the throne. It was also said that “If the king had no son, they would desire to live on crutches till he had one” clearly foreshadowing the eventual demise of Mamillius.
      Also,foreshadowing was used in Act 2,scene 1 when Mamillius was telling his mother a story. As he was trying to figure out what type of story to tell he remarked “a sad tale is best for winter.”  This foreshadows the fact that it was winter in Sicilia and consequently sad events were brewing. Also, the “sprites and goblins” of which his story was based could be said to symbolize the jealousy and anger that is growing within his father.
      Lastly, another ironic aspect of foreshadowing would be the comment made by Hermione to Polixenes when she asked him if he wanted to stay as her prisoner or as her guest. She declared “One of them you shall be.” This foreshadowed the fact that Polixenes may have in fact been imprisoned if he stayed In Sicilia and the fact that Hermione was eventually imprisoned which was quite ironic.
      The evidence of foreshadowing in the play was not only strategically used by Shakespeare but they were intelligently used. Their role was to test the reader’s minds and to make the play much more interesting through the irony displayed.

Summary of Winter's Tale

Act 1

Archidamus and Cleomenes,a lord from Bohemia and the other from Sicilia,respectively begin having a conversation about the two Kings. They expanded upon the great friendship the Kings have and compared the two Kingdoms. They also mention the visit of Polixenes to Sicilia.

Leontes enters to see Hermione,Mamillius and Polixenes who was getting ready to leave. Leontes tried to persuade Polixenes to stay but he refused. However,after the words spoken to him by Hermione he decides to stay.

Leontes begins to get jealous when observing  his wife and his friend. He suddenly suspects them to be lovers and begins to look at his son,Mamillius to compare their features. Since their features are similar he confirms that he is his son. On the other hand he still suspects that Polixenes slept with his wife and consequently asked Camillo to poison him.

Camillo expressly agreed but his conscience forbids him to do it. He then told Polixenes about what happened after being persuaded to talk. Polixenes then accepts him as his servant and they flee to Bohemia.


Mamillius begins to tell his mother a story. Leontes suddenly storms in in range because he recently found out about Polixenes fleeing to Bohemia and when putting his clues together he assumed that Camillo was his accomplice all along. With that stirring up his anger he began to accuse Hermione of being a ‘bed swerver.’ Hermione quickly rebuts by confessing her innocence. Leontes refused to believe her and consequently sent her to prison. He was confronted by Antigonus who also defended Hermione and tried to persuade him into recognizing her innocence. Leontes renounced his claims but decided to seek council from an oracle in Delphi.

Paulina went to visit Hermione in prison but was not allowed to speak to her because of instructions given to the gaoler. Paulina then asked to see Emilia who then informed her of the birth of Hermiones daughter. Paulina then convinced the gaoler that it was ok for her to take the child.

Paulina goes to the palace to take the baby to the king. Leontes becomes furious when Paulina got her way in. he begins to accuse Antigonus of not being able to control his wife and she agrues with him about his false accusations against Hermione. Paulina rests the baby down and leaves.


Act 3

Act 3 began with Cleomenes and Dion,the two men who went to see the oracle. They engage in a dialogue where the topics of the conversation were the beauty or the religious atmosphere and temples in Delphi and the prophecy by the oracle which they hoped would be in Hermione’s favour.

The trial begins and Hermione is brought from prison. The indictment is read and in it contains the accusations made by Leontes. It accused Hermione of being an adulteress, conspiring with Polixenes and Camillo to ensure a clean escape. Hermione states the reason for her innocence which was basically a testimony of the life she lived.

The message from the oracle is brought and it reads that Hermione and Polixenes are innocent while Camillo was rightfully accused. It also stated that Leontes was a jealous tyrant who would live without an heir if his daughter is not found.

Suddenly after,a servant runs in and informs every one of Mamillius’ death. This caused Hermione to faint and she was immediately carried away only later to be pronounced dead by Paulina when she ran back into the room. Leontes recognizing what he had done swears to visit their grave once a day and repent.

Character sketch

Camillo-he was the king’s servant (a noble man from sicilia) until he was accused of conspiring with Hermione to keep her affair a secret and refused to poison Polixenes. He fled with Polixenes to Bohemia.

Polixenes- he is the king of bohemia and a childhood friend of Leontes (the king of Sicilia). However,that friendship was corrupted when he fled from Leontes’ presence after being accused of cohabiting and impregnating Hermione.

Hermione-she is the wife of Leontes and the Queen of Sicilia. She is imprisoned after being accused by her husband of infidelity.She suddenly died from grief after her sons death.

Leontes is the protagonist of the play and the King of Sicilia. He is a ‘jealous tyrant’ who accused his wife of committing adultery with Polixnes who was his childhood friend. His jealousy led to the demise of his family.

Paulina-she is a faithful lady of Hermione from Sicilia. She is also the wife of Antigonus. she refuses to believe that Hermione is guilty and consequently remains with her.

Antigonus-he is the husband of paulina and the man who was put in charge of abandoning the baby(Perdita) belonging to Hermione and Leontes despite his belief in Hermione’s innocence.

Mamillius-the son of Hermione and Leontes who dies from grief which surfaced when his mother was imprisoned

Cleomenes-he is a lord of Sicilia who was sent to Delphi to retrieve the oracle’s prophecy

Dion-he is a lord of Sicilia who also went to collect the prophecy from the oracle with Cleomenes

Emilia-she is a lady of Paulina who Paulina visited at the prison when she was denied visitation to the Queen

Archidamus-he is a lord from Bohemia who began the play with Cleomenes describing the relationship that
existed between the two kings.

Perdita-She is the daughter of Hermione And Leontes who was sent by Leontes to be abandoned. she was found by  a Shepherd. she is the heir to Leontes’ throne whom the oracle told him he must find.

Clown-the son of the Sheperd

Shepherd-the man who found Perdita and raised her.

Monday, 8 October 2012

essay on attempts to mitigate leontes' jealousy in Winter's tale

QUESTION: For Homework: Go back through the play. What actions do people take to mitigate Leontes' jealousy, and do they work? Why or why (discussion Board) not? Write an essay that answers this question.
Leontes’ jealousy grew to an unbelievable level. at such a level no measure taken to mitigate his jealousy to the point of negating his actions worked. it is evident through the play that many people tried religiously but their contentment was no match for the jealousy of ‘the tyrant.’

In an effort to show Leontes that his accusations are false and his jealousy is unnecessary Antigonus confronted him. He warned Leontes by telling him “Be certain what you do, sir, lest your justice prove violence.” this  was in an effort of letting him know that if he is wrong there are consequences. Antigonus even went as far as to illustrate to Leontes that his wife cannot be such a person;that if his wife is an adulteress then “every dram of woman's flesh is false.”

The first lord also tried to mitigate Leontes’ jealousy by showing him that his accusations are false. he said “For her, my lord,I dare my life lay down and will do't, sir.....the queen is spotless.”

All of these efforts failed because of Leontes’ similar contentment. he thought for certain that he was right because all the evidence he had seemed to have been against Hermione but little did he know that his clouded judgment(of jealousy) formed figures in his imagination that would only seem to prove him right when he was wrong.

The opposition of these men to Leontes’ accusations forced him to seek spiritual counsel from an oracle. The oracles prophecy came from the god,Apollo. It declared Leontes to be totally wrong but Leontes still tried to deny it-“There is no truth at all i' the oracle.”

Sunday, 7 October 2012

essay- the role of prophecies and gods in Winter's tale

Blog Oct. 4th. 2012
1.      What role do prophecies and the gods play in the story? Cite specific examples from the play to support your answer

In most Shakespearre plays,  ‘the supernatural’ is a theme used to bring out an important aspect of the plot. This is no different in Winter’s Tale as phrophecies,God’s  and religious aspects in general, play a vital role in making the play a tragicomedy.

Act 3 of the play begins with a dialogue between Cleomenes and Dion who went to retrieve a prophecy from the oracle in Delphi. Their conversation brings to us the atmosphere of Delphi as they highlighted how wonderful and outstanding the island and its religion/temples were (Fertile the isle, the temple much surpassing). This is in contrast with the events to come as it portrays ‘the calm before the storm.’ the role of informing readers of the religious atmosphere alone was to show us the difference between Delphi and Sicilia where there is moral peace and immoral chaos respectively. In a sense it also foreshadows the oracle’s decision or the judgement of the God especially when it was said “Great Apollo-Turn all to the best!

The prophecy itself plays an extremely important role. This is because it determines the future acts in relation to what happens to several characters,especially,Leontes. If it was not for the oracles prophecy the subsequent actions would not have much meaning since the false accusations would have continued. Leontes’ search or desire for redemption (important part of the play) would be unnecessary.
 Moreover,the intial role of the prophecy was to bring justice to Hermione for the loss or damage suffered to her reputation when she was called “an adulteress,” “a traitor,” “a bed swerver,” and other dishonourable things too numerous to mention.

In addition,the most obvious role of the God’s is to make the decision profound,binding and righteous . That way when Leontes is proven to be wrong it would be believed since it came from such a divine source. In essence it validates the judgement and makes Leontes seem more like the ‘jealous tyrant’ that he is.
These religious aspects help to make the plot of ‘Winter’s Tale’ much more interesting and meaningful. Their role is to justify and to prove the importance of trust and not being consumed by the destroyer or relationships known as jealousy.

Wednesday, 3 October 2012

Study questions on act 3

Short Answer Questions - Act 3, Scene 1
1. When Cleomenes says "fertile the isle/the temple much surpassing", what is he referring to?He is referring to the island (Delphi)they went to to visit the oracle stating that it is either productive in general(resourceful) or production in terms of its bearing and how outstanding the temples and religion are.

2. In what city is the Oracle located?The oracle is located in Delphi

3. In what country is the Oracle located?The oracle is located in Delphi

4. How many characters speak in Act three, scene one? There are two characters in scene one.

5. What is one of the topics of conversation between the men in Act three, scene one? One of the topis is the religious atmosphere in Delphi.

6. What do the men, in Act three, scene one, want the Oracle to say?The men want the oracle to say that the queen is innocent.

7. How do the men, in Act three, scene one, say the journey to the Oracle is?They say that the journey to the oracle was pleasant,rare and speedy

8. Act three, scene one offers more support for the proposition that the king is the only person who thinks that Hermione is what? It offers support that the king is the only person that thinks that Hermoine is an adultress.

9. Who is the God the Oracle is dedicate to?  The God by which the oracle is dedicated to is Apollo.

10. What does "Apollo's great divine seal" refer to? It refers to Apollo's (the God's) devination which is in the letter being taking back to the king.

11. At the end of Act three, scene one, what do the men get to make their journey home faster? The men got fresh horses to make the journey faster

12. What do the men, in Act three, scene one, think of forcing faults on Hermione? The men think that forcing faults on Hermione is terrible and do not like it over all.

Short Answer Questions - Act 3, Scene 2
1. What does Leontes call for at the beginning of the trial?At the beginning of the trial Leontes called for 'the prisoner' and then he called for the indictment to be read.

2. What is one of the charges laid against Hermione at her trial? One of the charges being held against Hermione is committing adultry with Polixenes

3. What does Hermione think is sufficient proof of her innocence? Hermione thinks that the fact that she is unhappy for the first time is proof of her innocence.

4. What does Hermione say makes her life not worth living? She says that the grief of being accused of not having honour in relation to her moral obligation as a wife

5. Hermione tells her husband that his accusations exists only where? She tells him that his accusations only exists in his dreams

6. Who reads, at the trial, what the Oracle says?The oracles declarations were read by an officer.

7. How does the Oracle characterize Leontes? The oracle characterised Leontes as a jealous tyrant.

8. What does the king live without, according to the Oracle, if that which is lost be not found?The oracle declared that the king would live without an heir if is daughter is not found.

9. Who tells the king that Mamillius dies? A servant informs the king about his sons death

10. What does Hermione do when she hears the news that Mamillius dies?Hermione faints when she hears about her sons death

11. Who tells the king that the queen dies?Paulina informs the king of the queens death.

12. How many times does Leontes say he visits the graves of his wife and son?He said he would visit their graves once a day.