Shakespeare’s therefore, committing sexual behavior. Determined to prove

Shakespeare’s primary and preeminent for The Winter’s Tale was Pandosto, a popular novel written by
Robert Greene in 1588. The play is a tragicomedy because despite the happy
ending, both Leonte’s wife and son die, a bear kills Antigonus, the lord of the
court and Leontes suffered a humiliating downfall before realizing the mistakes
he has made. Shakespeare incorprates both jealousy and joy into The Winter’s Tale by having those who
are dead come back to life. The resurrection of Hermione in the final act of
the play draws a lot of attention and arguments from the audience who wonders
whether she was even dead to begin with, or just in hiding for all those years.

It is known that Shakespeare drew his
plot and most of his characters from Pandosto.
He followed the text of the novel closely and carefully, but added in his own
twists to make it his own work. The festival scene from act four of The Winter’s Tale and the conversation
between Polixenes and Perdita are examples of Shakespeare’s personal touches because
they are not found in Greene’s novel. Perdita gets nervous that the King of
Bohemia is going to sentence her to death when he finds about her relationship
with Florizel, the son of Polixenes. The seriousness of love that the two have
for each other is what makes the play a happier one compared to Pandosto.

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            Leontes,
the king of Sicilia, becomes convinced that his best friend Polixenes has been
sleeping with his wife Hermione, and therefore, committing sexual behavior. Determined
to prove to the kingdom that he has been wronged and this is obsurd scene is actually
true, he makes his innocent and yet pregnant wife stand trial. During the trial,
she dies from the humiliation and hurt she received. Despite Leontes having no
evidence, and the testimony from the Oracle of Delphi telling him he is wrong
and Hermione is innocent, he continues his wife’s trial. A message is read from
the Oracle, stating that Hermione is innocent and Leontes will be without an
heir unless the Perdita, the lost child is found. Leontes also causes the death
of his son Mamillus, who dies of grief when seeing his mother in prison. Perdita,
the king’s daughter, ends up rejected and abandoned after her mother is
imprisoned. Sixteen years pass by because Shakespeare wanted the audience to
believe that time will go by slow, and that the worst is yet to come. When this
time has passed, Leontes sees the error of his ways and feels remorse and guilt
towards his dead family.

            Leontes’
friend, Paulina, seeing that he is ready to forgive, takes him to see a statue
of his “dead” wife, which remarkably comes to life when he realizes what he did
was wrong. I believe that Paulina hid Hermione for all those years to keep her
away from her tyrant husband. “As Hermione descends from her pedestal, in her
movements hoping to move us, so does Shakespeare implicitly extend the same
treatment Pandosto” (Badlo, 2005). In
The Winter’s Tale, those found to be
dead return to a new and better life. Autolycus is far more developed than
Capnio, who is a servant to the king of Sicilia’s son Dorastus from Pandosto. One clear piece of evidence
that Shakespeare based The Winter’s Tale on
Pandosto is that they both take place
in Sicilia and Bohemia.

            Pandosto is a romance novel written by
Robert Greene, the book’s plot was an inspiration for The Winter’s Tale. Pandosto does in fact contain different elements
that Shakespeare used to make them happier and funnier in his play. Pandosto, King
of Bohemia, accuses his wife Bellaria of cheating with his long life friend,
who is also the King of Sicilia. Pandosto’s hunt of these charges leads his
daughter setting out to sea and also causes the death of his son and wife, very
similar to the tyranny and cruelty that causes Leontes to kill his wife and
son. This resembles The Winter’s Tale because
Perdita plays a symbolic role in the play when she is lost and then found because
after she was found, her lively spirits fulfilled Sicilia and Leontes realized
what he did was wrong.

            In the
novel, Pandosto’s daughter, Fawnia, who ends up in Sicilia, is saved and raised
by a shepherd, much like when Perdita is found and raised by a shepherd. Eventually,
Dorastus, the Prince of Sicilia ends up falling in love with her. He is
completely unaware that she is a princess. The two travel to Bohemia, where
Pandosto falls in love with his daughter. When Fawnia’s identity eventually revealed
to the kingdom, Pandosto, who is too busy sulking in sorrow, commits suicide for
all of the immoral actions that caused his family to die. Shakespeare reversed the
Kingdoms of Sicilia and Bohemia, and modified the characters of Paulina,
Antigonus, Autolycus, and the Clown, as in Pandosto
these characters have different names. Shakespeare removed the part where
Pandosto kills himself and added in the resurrection scene at the end of the
play, where the Queen came back to life.

            In the
first act of The Winter’s Tale, the
Bohemian lord Archidamus is paying the Sicilian court a visit. Leontes, the
host, owes a visit to Polixenes, while Polixenes feels he is being a burden to
Leontes since he had been staying in the Sicilian court for nine months. Shakespeare
used the same kingdoms that the Kings ruled in his play as compared to Greene’s
novel, only Polixenes is the king of Bohemia while Pandosto is the king of
Bohemia in Greene’s novel, unlike where in The
Winter’s Tale, Pandosto is the title of his novel as well as being the main
character.

            The play’s
first half depicts Leonte’s attempts at tyrannical rule as he decides to kill
off his family, and then, in the second half, Shakespeare redeems these actions
by presenting it as more playful and happy play. Leontes is so vested into
becoming a tyrant and ruling his kingdom, that he refuses to accept the outcome
that is eventually produced when his entire family is dead. In The Winter’s Tale, the audience is given
a fairy tale ending, but we first endure the anger and madness of Leontes and
the death of his family before we reach said happy ending. Shakespeare borrowed
most of the characters and events of the first three scenes from Pandosto and the character of Autolycus
and his habits are drawn from Greene’s Elizabethan, but in the last acts, Shakespeare
used his own ideas.

            Shakespeare
created Hermione, the Queen of Sicilia, to exhibit love, passion and to be a beautiful
and loving Queen towards Leontes. When Hermione is introduced in act one, she
is confident of her husband’s love realizing nothing can go wrong. From the
moment Leontes accuses her of having sexual relations with Polixenes, she never
lashes out at him in anger or distress, she instead firmly tells Leontes that
he is wrong saying: “should a villain say so, the most replenish’d villain in
the world. He were as much more villain: you, my lord, Do but mistake” (Smith,
2005). Hermione’s use of the formal words “you” and “my lord” in her speech show
us that even in this tough time, she never forgets her respect to Leontes and
her royal position as the Queen. Shakespeare
updates the audience on important details through a speaker called Time. Time tells
the audience that Leontes is now alone and that the setting of the play has changed
to Bohemia, where the son of Polixenes has fallen in love with a shepherdess.

            After
reading The Winter’s Tale, I do in
fact believe that Paulina had something to do with the resurrection of Hermione,
in fact, it’s possible that she was never actually dead in the first place. On
the other hand, it seems like Hermione’s return could be a miracle, one that is
brought about when Hermione’s long lost daughter Perdita is eventually found. I
believe that Paulina hid the Queen away for sixteen years in order to punish
Leontes for being such a cruel husband. She could have also hidden Hermione
from the King because Paulina was afraid that Leontes would actually harm, and
end up killing, Hermione to give the audience a dramatic scene.  

            Leontes is
filled with sadness as he mourns the loss of Hermione. Leontes, and the rest of
Bohemia, discover a statue of Hermione that Paulina tells them about. The Queen
was living with Paulina for these sixteen years praying for the return of her daughter
Perdita. The triumph of time portion of
The Winter’s Tale suggests that
Hermione herself has to take the time with Paulina in order for the Oracle to finally
be fulfilled. The triumph of time that Shakespeare created relates to both
Leontes and Hermione and their abilities to surrender their wills and wait for
sixteen years. Paulina
was afraid of telling where Hermione actually was in fear of interfering with
the will of the Oracle of Delphi as expressed in the quote “the king shall live without an heir, if that which is
lost be not found” (Smith, 2005). If Leontes was reunited with Hermione any
earlier, he would have fathered another child when Perdita was still lost, this
would have produced an heir before Perdita was found defeating the will of the
Oracle, making Perdita no longer the princess. When Perdita is finally found,
Hermione asks the Gods to bless her so she would never be lost again.

            Even in the midst of all this confusion and chaos, the
play offers a hint that it is not an unhappy play. For a while, things seem very
dark, but the Oracle’s prophecy, with its suggestion that the lost Perdita may
yet be found, offers some hope for the future. So Leontes says “lead me /
To these sorrows” (Smith, 2005) so one has hope that the sorrows and pain will
not be permanent. In the first acts of The
Winter’s Tale, there are no clues or hints that Hermione actually does live.
But, in act five, Paulina asks Leontes to promise that he will not marry again,
hinting on the fact that Hermione must not actually be dead. This also shows
that once Hermione is out of hiding she will return as the Queen. Shakespeare
wants the audience to feel a sense of emotion as Hermione is put on trial and
pretends to die compared to in Pandosto when
Pandosto ends up killing himself due to everything he had done to his family.
This created emotional feelings for the audience to feel like he actually did in
fact kill himself and is not coming back to life.

            The first part of The Winter’s Tale falls into the
dramatic sense, that Leonte’s jealousy and suspicions relate highly to the
jealous king, Pandosto of Bohemia in
Greene’s novel. The second part of the play does not depend on the ideas of Pandosto, the second part is more joyous
and spiritual as the spring months begin, than the dramatic, dark first part
where the winter is present. In the first part, innocent people are victims of
evil as both Mamillius, and Hermione dies, and Perdita is abandoned. But at the
end of this play, Hermione and Perdita, who were thought to be dead are finally
brought back to Leontes as he realizes what he did was wrong, which is why he
lived in a world of grief for a long and crucial sixteen years.

            In The Winter’s
Tale, Shakespeare suggests
that jealousy is a plague that is quickly caught and is very difficult to cure
because this is shown to be true when Leontes gets diagnosed with jealousy because
he becomes bitter and cruel, and it takes a heavy toll on his whole family’s life. In Pandosto,
Robert Greene describes jealousy as: “All other griefs are either to be
appeased with sensible persuasions, to be cured with wholesome counsel, to be
relieved in want, or by tract of time to be worn out, which is so sawsed with
suspicious doubts, and pinching mistrust, that whoso seeks by friendly
counselee to raze out this hellish passion, it forthwith suspected that he
genet this advice to cover his owned guiltiness” (Greene, 1923). Jealousy
attacks both Pandosto and Leontes with a wave of sadness that neither character
can cope with. Shakespeare
suggests that both health and love are natural conditions of human beings, and,
while illness and jealousy are both terrible, they will not be everlasting.

            Although, the names of the characters are different, The Winter’s Tale and Pandosto both have similar beliefs. Even
though Pandosto seems to be darker in
its text, the story does not contain a plot about a second life like that of the
Queen, where Pandosto is dead and
remains dead. Shakespeare, unlike Greene, incorporates jealousy into his
rendition and creates a forgiving tone with a happy ending.  

 

 

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