Hope: <i>The Winter’s Tale</i>

Andy Mousley

in Re-Humanising Shakespeare

Published by Edinburgh University Press

Published in print June 2007 | ISBN: 9780748623181
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780748652211 | DOI:
Hope: The Winter’s Tale

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This chapter argues that although the thorny question of what belongs to art and what belongs to nature is explicitly debated in The Winter's Tale, such debate, coupled with the more obvious ‘seasonal’ patterning of the play, can be taken as evidence of a desire for art to be in some sort of contact with nature and so counteract the total alienation of human beings from both nature and human nature. As The Winter's Tale is one of the most obviously ‘archetypal’ of Shakespeare's plays, it makes sense to briefly invoke some of Northrop Frye's insights here. Pastoral in the play is reworked to affirm the possibility of widening affective networks where they have been narrowed. Paulina, the figure who presides over proceedings at the end, is the catalyst for hope throughout the play. It is believed that without hope, life would be one long winter's tale.

Keywords: hope; Winter's Tale; Northrop Frye; pastoral; Paulina; Shakespeare

Chapter.  5825 words. 

Subjects: Shakespeare Studies and Criticism

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