The Winter’s Tale, by William Shakespeare. First performed/written circa 1611.
I’m a hardcore Shakespeare fan (tattoo designs are in the works..)
But I did NOT enjoy The Winter’s Tale as much as I thought I would. And you’d think it was the right time of year for it too!
This was the last text on the current module I’m studying, ‘Shakespeare and Renaissance Drama’, and so I had no pressure to use it in an essay having already used the earlier texts. I could just read it and enjoy it. But there is something so ‘un’ Shakespeare about this play for me, and at first I thought maybe it was that his style had changed too dramatically in his later plays. However, I love the pants off of The Tempest, so that wasn’t it.
I found the character names confusing and hard to pronounce/remember, but much was the case for Titus Andronicus, and again, I loved the pants off that one!
Trying to narrow it down is like trying to piss in the wind; it keeps flying back in my face. But here is what I came up with:
- Strange mixture of theme/genre – What IS The Winter’s Tale? It seems to take a bit of everything and hope for the best. Tragedy, comedy, history, satire. Who cares? Through it all in there!
- Characters – Never forgetting that they were all played by dudes, I found the female characters flat. And we know Wills can portray his ladies well when he wants to.
- Motivation? – Characters get angry, and irrational. Like a Renaissance Incredible Hulk. Leontes has issues.
- Convenient death – I can’t actually remember if anyone is killed in an untoward manner… But I do remember that people die of nothing. Literally, nothing. ‘Bleh! I’m dead. Now mourn my loss!’
I fully intend to see this performed in the near future, and I hope it will illuminate what I missed while reading.
The best part of it though? Exit, pursued by a bear!
I’m not giving this a rating as I normally would, but instead I’m giving it a solid thumbs up. Because heck, it’s the bard. And I lubbs him!