Tuesday, 23 October 2012

The Dramatic Significance of Autolycus in The Winter's Tale

In the play The Winter’s Tale, the character named Autolycus infuses the play with comedic energy. The play begins in the winter and expresses the turmoil that devastated the Sicilian kingdom; and is juxtaposed to the spring that overwhelms the remainder of the play is highlighted with the light hearted humour delivered by Autolycus. Although his role in the play is perceived as minor, the hilarity of each scene that his is featured adds to the play's entertainment.
In each scene that Autolycus is introduced, he enters singing. The songs that he sings often times reflect the setting and what will transpire in the scene. His singing is almost taunting and mocking of the other unsuspecting characters in the play, however it reveals to the audience his deceptive and comical ways. This musical attribute maintain the audiences interest and keeps them entertained.
In Act 4, Scene 3, Autolycus disguises himself as a servant to a kinsman who has just been beaten and robbed by a man on foot. The Shepherd’s son, Clown becomes a victim to his trickery as he offers help to the “ailing” Autolycus. The robber whom Autolycus accuses of the crime shares the exact features that he himself possesses. The audience is left to witness the oblivious Clown be robbed by the alleged plaintiff. The Clown who is unsuspected offers money to Autolycus who has already helped himself to the contents of his pocket. This vagabond succeeds in his endeavour due to the naive nature of the Clown.
Autolycus, although a vagabond, he is also an opportunist. He assists Florizel and Perdita to escape the wrath of Polixenes and having them flee to Sicilia to seek Leontes’ help. He also uses the opportunity to escape persecution for his own wrong actions. This aids in the revelation of Perdita’s identity and the concretes Autolycus’ new role as the Shepherd’s loyal servant. His treacherous ways prove to be somewhat beneficial in the end.
The role of Autolycus is ideal in lightening the initial winter struck mood of the play. His deceitful peddling ways aided in the entertainment and the comedic underlying that was much need in the play.

Role of Disguise in The Winter's Tale

Disguise is an element that is often present in play in order to add to dramatic prowess. Disguise refers to the manner in which characters in the play, alter their appearance to prevent disclosure of their identity. In the play, The Winter’s Tale, the characters employ the use of disguise, to reveal truths about themselves and each other.

Perdita is the begotten daughter of King of Sicilia, Leontes. After being abandoned, she was raised by a goodly shepherd in Bohemia. She is a clear example of unintentional disguise due to her unknown status when she was found. She grows up as a Shepherd girl and is later pursued by the Prince of Bohemia, Florizel who is oblivious to her royal blood but falls in love nonetheless. When her disguise is revealed however, it does not alter the relationship that was developed between herself and Florizel. Florizel disguises himself as a commoner; however, he is a prince as Perdita is a princess. However, this disguise is intentional as to ensure that Perdita’s love is true and not guided by promise of wealth. This disguise shows Florizel underlying distrust in women who are not of “royal blood” as he feels unsure if they can love a prince for his character and not his social stature.

King of Bohemia, Polixenes and Camillo disguise themselves in order to investigate the reason for the prince’s absence in his royal curt. Polixenes displays his over protective and imperious traits as he disguises himself to spy on Florizel. The disguise reveals that the welfare of Florizel is considered dearly by his father. It is rather an extreme action for a King to carry out but gives the audience insight to the depth of a father’s love.

Autolycus disguises himself as various characters in the play which adds comedy to the play, as the audience knows something that the characters are not conscious. The peddler traits of Autolycus are highlighted in every scene that he is present and lightens the former winter struck mood that was littered in Acts 1-3. He is first seen disguised as a nobleman who was allegedly robbed by a man who shares the same likings as himself, however, the Shepherd’s son, Clown, falls into his deceptive trap and is robbed by the clever thief. His deceptive antics, however aid in revealing various truths hidden in the play such as Perdita’s true identity.

Shakespeare often employs the use of disguise to heighten dramatic agility and The Winter’s Tale is no different. The underlying truths that are hidden within the play are effectively revealed by the use of this literary element.

Thursday, 11 October 2012

The Winter's Tale - Evidence of Foreshadowing in the play

In the play, The Winter’s Tale by Shakespeare, there is evidence of foreshadowing. This foreshadowing happens at different intervals of the play, however are all vital in maintaining the audience’s interest and enhancing drama within the plot.

In Act One Scene One, the dialogue between Archidamus and Camillo foreshadows events that will be revealed in the play. The admirable conversation of the King of Sicilia and Bohemia’s bond that has flourished since childhood is seen as unbreakable. The praise given to this friendship gives the audience whim of the downfall that is soon to come. The talk of young Mamillius as
“a gentle man of the greatest promise that ever came into note” (Act 1: Scene 1: Line 32-34)
foreshadows the f=death of this young prince. This is solidified By Archidamus’ response that
“if the king had no son, they would desire to live on crutches till he had one” (Act 1: Scene 1: Line 43-44).
These small innuendoes disclose to the audience what is to come and urges them to stay tuned. This first scene set the tone for teh rest of the play and gained the audience's interest.

In Act Two, Scene Three, the audience witnesses the revelation of Mamillius sickness since his mother was imprisoned for adultery. Hermione has been separated from her son and sent to prison for allegedly committing adultery with King of Bohemia, Polixenes and conspiring to kill King Leontes with Camillo. She is separated from Mamillius who is quickly affected by her absence. The King asks in dear concern for his only heir,
“How does the boy?” (Act 2: Scene 3: Line 11)
. The talk of Mamillius as a “gallant child” in Act One has dwindled and the audience begins to fear the worst as the servant replies to the King
“Tis hoped his sickness is discharged” (Act 2: Scene 3: Line 13).
In Act Three, Scene Two, King Leontes has called for his prisoner and wife, Hermione to receive the judgement from the Oracle. Many within the Sicilian kingdom have pressured the King to have mercy on his wife as they believe that she in virtuous and innocent. A jealous Leontes has risked a lot with his adulterous accusation, even by shunning Hermione new born daughter, regarding her bastard and having her abandoned in a forest. The judgement of the Oracle is thus important to Leontes to prove those around him wrong and himself right as their supreme ruler. The judgement of the Oracle was retrieved by Cleomenes and Dion, arrives and is read. It states
“Hermione is chaste; Polixenes blameless; Camillo a true subject; Leontes a jealous tyrant; innocent babe truly begotten ad the king shall live without an heir, if that which is lost be not found”, (Act 3; Scene 2: Line 137-141)
. The subject of Leontes rejoiced in Hermione’s innocence; however Leontes dismissed the Oracle’s prophecy and continues in his jealous tirade. Suddenly, it is reported that Mamillius has passed due to fear that he will lose his mother, and Hermione takes the news as impetus to swoon. The Oracle’s word quickly comes to pass as Hermione is pronounced dead as well. Leontes’ kingdom begins to crumble as he loses his heirs to the throne, the newborn baby is lost. She remains lost for sixteen years. Leontes, the jealous tyrant mourns for these years all whilst still hoping his daughter will be found.

In Act Five, Scene Five, Leontes’ family is restored, ironically joining together his family with that of his child hood friend Polixenes.. Leontes’ begotten daughter, Perdita has agreed to marry the prince of Bohemia, Florizel who knows her as a shepherd girl and not a princess. However, Polixenes disagrees with this marriage which forces the two youth to flee to Sicilia to seek Leontes’ help. It is then revealed that Perdita is Leontes’ living heir and Leontes mourning is dissolved.Paulina who has kept Leontes from marriage over the years has foreshadowed in that action that Hermione was somehow still alive. She reveals a statue of Hermione in her home, which comes to life. Leontes' family is restored and he acknowledged his wrongs.

The foreshadowing techniques that Shakespeare employs aids grasping the audience's attention an dmaintaing it throughout the play. These different aspect of foreshadowing truly emphasises the good quality of work that was produced by the playwright and indeeed deserves great applause.

Tutorial Assignment: The Winter's Tale- Character Sketch and Sumnmary

Character Sketch
Archidamus – A lord of Bohemia, who shows great admiration for the friendship shared between the King of Bohemia, Polixenes and the King of Sicilia, Leontes.

Camillo- A servant of Sicilia, who finds himself caught between loyalty to his King and the protection of the King of Bohemia’s innocence. He proves to be a good judge as he courageously refutes the claims made by Leontes against Hermione. He seeks Polixenes best interest when he is ordered by Leontes to poison him but instead flees to Bohemia. Camillo was loyal and trustworthy to both kings.

Leontes- He is King of Sicilia, with a remarkable temper and jealous streak. He accuses his wife, Hermione and child hood friend, King of Bohemia, Polixenes of committing adultery and conspiring to take his life. He feels betrayed by those around him and tries his best to convince those around him that his wife was indeed untrue. Infused in jealousy, he breaks apart his family, marriage, and friendships. He was a man who trusted in the prophecies of the Oracle of Apollo; however he dismissed the judgement of the Oracle when the innocence of Hermione was proven. He is unable to realise the damage he has done, and quickly looses those he loves and lives a life of regret. The oracle allowed that if his daughter was found then he would be redeemed and forgiven.
Hermione- She is the Queen of Sicilia. Introduced at nine months pregnant, she is revealed as a kind, virtuous, loving and humble individual who is respected and praised by those around her. Although shocked by her husband’s accusations of her infidelity, not once did Hermione act un-ladylike or disrespect her King and husband. She is a loving mother who enjoys the company of her son, Mamillius; however, she loses her composure when the news of her son’s death is revealed.

Polixenes- He is the King of Bohemia and child hood friend of Leontes. He was accused of having an affair with Leontes wife, Hermione and fathering her unborn child. He proves to be a virtuous and true friend to Leontes but an over protective father with deceiving traits. He spied on Florizel, his son and petitioned him from marrying Leontes’ begotten daughter, Perdita.

Paulina- Paulina is the wife of Antigonus and close and loyal friend to Hermione. She is head strong, courageous and diligent. Paulina was determined to prove the innocence of her Queen Hermione, and was the only person who stood up to Leontes’ jealous tirade throughout the kingdom. She remained present after Mamillius and Hermione’s death, ensuring that Leontes did not marry anyone else or forget his faithful queen.
Florizel- He is the young and ambitious Prince of Bohemia and son of Polixenes. He is very adventurous and sweet. He falls in love with Leontes’ begotten daughter, Perdita and decides to marry her without the notification of his father. He thus flees to Sicilia with Perdita, seeking the help of Leontes.

Perdita- She is the begotten daughter of King Leontes who was sent into the wilderness as an infant due to her father’s jealous tyranny. She was thus raised by a good shepherd and grew up in Bohemia as a Shepherd girl. She falls in love with Florizel, son of Polixenes and is thus reunited with her father after the two flee to

Antigonus- He is a faithful Lord of King Leontes and husband of Paulina. He appears to be a soft spoken man who feared for the queen, as he believed she was innocent and indeed virtuous. However, following orders of the King, he takes Perdita, as an infant and abandons her in the forest. However, he is mauled by a bear thus leaving his wife a widow.

Autolycus- He is a joker and pickpocket, who takes full advantage of the naive Clown that is the Shepherd’s son. He plays a major role in the play despite his antics as he lead Perdita to her biological father.

Clown- He is the naive son of the Shepherd and Perdita’s adopted brother. H e is very foolish and easily lead on by Autolycus.

Shepherd- H e is the kind shepherd who found Perdita in the forest as an infant and raises her as his own. However, when accosted by Polixenes, he makes clear that she was not his daughter and reveals her identity.

Summary of Act One, Two and Three

The play The Winter's Tale begins with the dialogue of two lords, of both the King of Sicilia and the King of Bohemia. Archidamus and Camillo's dialogue reveal the admirable friendship between their Kings and its strength. They are in awe of the duration from child hood and how it has grown into a brotherly connection; both emphasize the potency of this friendship which foreshadows the events to come. The destruction of this friendship begins to fester in the mind of the audience as the dialogue progresses. Later on, King of Sicilia, Leontes, his pregnant wife Hermione, their son, Mamillius and King of bohemia, Polixenes are introduced. The audience experiences the friendship that was previously discussed. Polixenes had been in Sicilia for nine months and urges that he needs to return to Bohemia for he fears the worst. Leontes tries to reassure him that all is well but Polixenes avertedly declines. A frustrated Leontes, asks his wife Hermione to persuade his child hood friend. She is successful; however, Leontes begins dislike how the two interact with one another, and suspects that the two are having an affair. This assumption festers and causes Leontes to begin to question the paternity of his son, Mamillius and the unborn child that Hermione is carrying. The jealous tirade begins. Leontes shares the matter with Camillo who refutes it confidently. Leontes sees him as a blind and foolish servant and sees him as unfit to serve him; however, Camillo is redeemed when he promises to poison Polixenes as Leontes has asked. Moreover, a confused Camillo, shares word with Polixenes that the King wishes to see him dead and thus assists him in fleeing to Bohemia. This action deepens Leontes jealous rage and causes him to further doubt his wife’s innocence.

Leontes thus has Hermione arrested for treason and conspiracy, all whilst pregnant. She pleads that the King would reconsider but hopes that she will see him regretful for what he has done. Leontes is headstrong that she is an adulterous woman and tries his uttermost to convince his lord and Antigonus. Both men have already sworn on their lives and their children’s fertility that Hermione is indeed guiltless and pressures the King to reconsider his claim, A stubborn Leontes, thus retorts to seeking Apollo’s Oracle for divine judgement of Hermione, and he hopes his claims are solidified. Furthermore, Hermione’s most vibrant supporter Paulina begins her campaign for the Queen’s release. Paulina takes Hermione’s new born child to the king and in jealous rage; he has the child taken to the forest to be abandoned. The oracle then reveals that Hermione, Polixenes and Camillo are all innocent and Leontes acted rashly without proof. His jealous tirade caused his son Mamillius’ and wife Hermione’s death which leaves him without an heir to the throne. Leontes is now mournful of his behaviour and hopes to find his begotten daughter.

Off the coast of Bohemia, Antigonus has revealed that Hermione had visited him in a dream and revealed that the child is to be named Perdita and he will die. He leaves the child with treasures, such as gold, silver and jewels and is then mauled by a bear in the forest. A shepherd finds Perdita and decides to raise her as his own with the aid of his clown-ish son. It is later revealed that sixteen years has passed, and Polixenes and Camillo are seen discussing events in the play. Camillo wishes to return to Sicilia; however Polixenes urges that he is in need of his assistance to manage his kingdom. The subject of Polixenes son Florizel and his wayward ways is exposed. He has apparently been frequently visiting Perdita and is often absent from court. They both plan to disguise themselves and see the extent of the relationship. The pick pocket Autolycus has chosen the Shepherd’s son as prey and steals his money that was set aside for the grand sheep shearing. When successful, he decides to repeat this act disguised as someone else.

Monday, 8 October 2012

What role do prophecies and the gods play in the The Winter's Tale?

In the play, The Winter’s Tale by William Shakespeare, the life of King Leontes of Sicilia is displayed as he battles the trials of love, friendship, marriage and regret. Leontes has accused his wife, Hermione of adultery with his child hood friend, King Polixenes of Bohemia. This claim dissolves throughout the play as Leontes breaks apart his family due to his jealous impulse and highlights the influence of Greek mythology, prophecies and gods. The Oracle of Apollo played an essential role in the play, as Leontes relied on the judgement as proof to his claim that Hermione was an adulterous woman who conspired with Camillo to have him killed. He was sure of his wife’s guilt and was only interested in the Oracle’s solidification of his perceptions. He therefore, sent Cleomenes and Dion to Delphos to receive the judgement. The doubt of those around him, such as Archidamus and one of his lords, who both swore that Hermione was truly innocent, Leontes pushed for the celestial input. Leontes’ lack of proof for his claims against Hermione is greater reason for him to seek the aid of the Oracle of Apollo. Hermione in despair called out for the assistance of Apollo, in order to escape the adulterous crimes that restrained her. Hermione cries out
“I do refer me to the Oracle: Apollo be my judge!”
in desperate hope to reassure her innocence and regain the respect of her husband and reunite with her two children. Moreover, In Act Three, Scene One, the audience witnesses Cleomenes and Dion returning to Sicilia. The two comment on their trip to Greece and express their dislike for the charges that are forced upon their noble Queen, Hermione. Both men hope that the judgement of the oracle will truly prove that the King was mistaken and the Queen ever faithful, true and virtuous. In Scene Two, Hermione is put to trial by her husband. The judgement from the Oracle is revealed:
“Hermione is chaste; Polixenes blameless; Camillo a true subject; Leontes a jealous tyrant; his innocent babe truly begotten; and the king will live without an heir, if that which is lost be not found.”
The Oracle divulges the true characters of those in question and helps to foreshadow the upcoming events of the play. The news of Hermione’s innocence after word from the Oracle does not change Leontes’ mind however, his jealousy takes full control of him as he dismisses the judgement. The prophecy made by the Oracle however, quickly fulfils with the death of the Sicilian prince, Mamillius and the death of the queen Hermione following. The King is left without a family and no knowledge of his begotten infant’s location. Furthermore, the love of Florizel and Perdita surrounded itself with many symbolic references to gods. In Act Four, Scene Four, the fresh and youthful love was symbolic of spring, and is seen in the line
“But Flora peering in Aprils Front...”
as Flora is the goddess of nature. Moreover, the reference to Flora could also be symbolic of Perdita’s innocence and beauty. This reveals to the audience that the characters in the play were very superstitious, and deeply believed in honoring the gods, this is highlighted in the line
“this your sheep-shearing is as a meeting of the petty gods,”
as the sheep shearing was a pagan festival, and was a celebration of the gods. Florizel claims that
“ the god’s themselves humbling their deities to love”,
which is seen as his way of persuading Perdita to fall in love for the gods will allow it as they do among themselves. He continues to compare the beauty of gods, such as Jupiter, Neptune and Golden Apollo to the youthful beauty of Perdita, claiming that they cannot compare to her. Even the love that is shared is influenced by the prophetic gods that are sovereign. Prophecies and gods, play a key role in the play, The Winter’s Tale. The plot is based on Leontes attempt to prove his wife an adulterer, however the influence of the prophecies and gods prove otherwise and deter the outcome hoped by the king. The many comparisons and references made to the Greek and Roman gods throughout the play solidified their influence in the play’s plot but also the lives of the characters.

Wednesday, 3 October 2012

The Winter's Tale by Shakespeare Review 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? Cleomenes is refering to the divine home of the gods, as he departs from Greece and returns to Siclia.
2. In what city is the Oracle located? The Oracle is located in Delphos.
3. In what country is the Oracle located? the Oracle was located in Greece.
4. How many characters speak in Act three, scene one? In Act Three, Scene One, two chracters share a dialogue.
5. What is one of the topics of conversation between the men in Act three, scene one? One of the topics of conversation between the men in Act Three, Scene Two was the charges against Hermoine and the importance of proving her innocence.
6. What do the men, in Act three, scene one, want the Oracle to say? The men hope that the Oracle proves the Queen Hermione's innocence.
7. How do the men, in Act three, scene one, say the journey to the Oracle is? The men state that the journey was very "celestial" as it surprised their senses.
8. Act three, scene one offers more support for the proposition that the king is the only person who thinks that Hermione is what? Act Three, Scene does show that the King's subjects have disregarded his claim that the Queen is an adultress and they dismiss the claims especially because proof is insufficient.
9. Who is the God the Oracle is dedicate to? The Oracle is dedicatd to the Great Apollo.
10. What does "Apollo's great divine seal" refer to? "Apollo's great seal" refers to the judgement that has been passed by the Oracle that will reveal the truth.
11. At the end of Act three, scene one, what do the men get to make their journey home faster? The men acquire horses to make their journey more rapid.
12. What do the men, in Act three, scene one, think of forcing faults on Hermione? The men find the faults forced on Hermoine to be ludicrous, and highly dislike the claims that are being forced upon their Queen by the King.
Short Answer Questions - Act 3, Scene 2
1. What does Leontes call for at the beginning of the trial? Leontes calls for "the prisoner", his wife and Queen, Hermione.
2. What is one of the charges laid against Hermione at her trial? One of the charges laid against Hermione is that she conspired with Camillo to take King Leontes' life.
3. What does Hermione think is sufficient proof of her innocence? Hermione thinks that her behaviour prior to Polixenes visit is sufficient proof of her innocence.
4. What does Hermione say makes her life not worth living? The accusation against makes her life not worth living as she has lost teh comfort of her children and her husband.
5. Hermione tells her husband that his accusations exists only where? His accusation only exist in his dreams.
6. Who reads, at the trial, what the Oracle says? An officer reads.
7. How does the Oracle characterize Leontes? Leontes is characterized as a jealous tyrant.
8. What does the king live without, according to the Oracle, if that which is lost be not found? The King will live without an heir.
9. Who tells the king that Mamillius dies? A servant gives the news.
10. What does Hermione do when she hears the news that Mamillius dies? Hermione swoons.
11. Who tells the king that the queen dies? Paulina tells the King of Hermione's death.
12. How many times does Leontes say he visits the graves of his wife and son? He promises to visit their graves once everyday.