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The Winter's Tale

3.69  ·  Rating Details ·  18,808 Ratings  ·  723 Reviews
"A merry winter's tale would drive away the time trimly," suggests a character from The Old Wives' Tale, a play by one of Shakespeare's lesser-known contemporaries. And indeed, Elizabethan audiences recognized a "winter's tale" as a fanciful story, rendered all the more appealing by its very improbability. The Bard's version of this traditional entertainment is a charming ...more
Paperback, 112 pages
Published June 20th 2000 by Dover Publications (first published January 4th 1600)
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Hailey (HaileyInBookland)
*Read for class!
Bill  Kerwin

A masterpiece, demonstrating how grace redeems and love restores over time.

This play features one of Shakespeare's most interesting psychological studies (Leontes) and two of his most charming heroines (Hermione and Perdita). Shakespeare's art has deepened to the point where he can deliberately choose an outrageously improbable denouement and present it in a way that makes his play more moving and richer symbolically than it would have been with a more probable conclusion.
Jan 18, 2009 Madeline rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: shakespeare
I decided not to do an abridged version of this play because, frankly, it's already so ridiculous that I can't improve on it. Instead, we here at Madeline Reviews Inc present a fictionalized account of an event that probably occured right before the writing of this (thankfully) little-known play. Enjoy:

SCENE: a tavern in Renaissance London. CHRISTOPHER MARLOWE and BEN JONSON are sitting at the bar, already several ales into the morning. WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE enters, falls down, and then gets up an
Oct 26, 2016 Cecily rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: plays
Image of Dench and Branagh, 2016:

Reviews of audio books count, so I guess watching a play should, too. Perhaps more so, as that was the author's intended medium.

I saw a stage production of The Winter's Tale a few days after finishing Jeanette Winterson's modern novelisation, The Gap of Time, which I reviewed HERE.

My mother tells me I saw the play in my late teens, but I have no memory of it. My knowledge of the plot was from Winterson's summary and then
Ahmad Sharabiani
The Winter's Tale, William Shakespeare
عنوان: حکایت زمستان؛ نویسنده: ویلیام شکسپیر؛
ماخذ اصلی این نمایشنامه حکایت عاشقانه و روستایی پیروزی زمان اثر رابرت گرین (1588، چاپ دوم 1607) نویسنده هم عصر شکسپیر است؛ اما تغییرات بسیاری در داستان او داده شده است. از جمله این تغییرات میتوان به: زنده نگه داشته شدن ملکه مظلوم، حذف یک خواسته ناشایست شاه و خودکشی نکردن شاه در انتهای داستان؛ نام برد. زنده شدن مجسمه ملکه ممکن است از افسانه های پیگمالیون یا آلستیس یونان باستان، استخراج شده باشد
مایش در پنج پرده تدوین
May 15, 2016 Lyn rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
“Exit, pursued by a bear.”

Shakespeare’s most famous stage direction is perhaps the most famous, or infamous, stage direction in drama.

Beyond the odd line, this is a fun, meaningful play and one of The Bard’s more unusual dramatic comedies.

The story of a jealous husband falls far short of Othello, both in scale and in depth. This has moments, Hermione's soliloquy, Antigone's plea to Leontes, but also very disjointed and with a crazy ending! (and apparently geography was not an exact science back
Feb 23, 2011 Bonnie rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: classics
Abridged version: (inspired by Madeline's great abridged versions)

Act I
LEONTES, KING OF SICILY: You are my bestest friend since childhood, Polixenes!
POLIXENES, KING OF BOHEMIA: You are my bestest friend too, Leontes! But it’s been 9 months and, y’know, I need to get home to my kingdom and son and all.
KING LEONTES: NOOOOOO. I need you in my life! Stay, stay!
QUEEN HERMIONE: I agree with my husband.
KING POLIXENES: Well, shucks, fine, I’ll stay a little longer.
May 06, 2016 Bettie☯ rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: BBC Radio Listeners

Description: Eve Best, Danny Sapani and Shaun Dooley star in the magical product of the Bard's later years. Treading new dramatic ground The Winter's Tale embraces tragedy, poetry, folklore, magic realism, music, comedy and the infamous stage direction "exit pursued by a bear".

Moraes the Bookworm
This play can be divided into two parts: the first is a tragedy, the second can be seen as a comedy. The former – roughly the first three acts – is slow and often linguistically unintelligible. Thankfully, the second half is more enjoyable. Shakespeare wisely exchanges the cold court of Sicilia for Bohemia’s pleasant rural regions. We are, for the first time in the play, presented with characters drawn from the lower classes. Shakespeare’s peasants are generally far more relatable than his nobil ...more
Dec 01, 2016 Alex rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: ambitious bears
Shelves: 2016, 2016-bingo
"Exit, pursued by a bear" is the most famous stage direction in literature. It comes here in Winter's Tale, at the end of Act III, and it's famous because it's funny.

And the really funny thing is it's been a hella dark play until this moment. What happened is King Leontes has become suddenly and irrationally convinced that his wife is cheating on him (like Othello, with some Lear), so he thinks his infant daughter isn't his, so he orders her exposed in the wilderness to die, and the guy who dro
Oct 21, 2011 Trevor rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: literature, poetry
You might be forgiven for thinking that the most ‘fairy-tale’ like of Shakespeare’s plays is A Mid-Summer Night’s Dream. I mean, there are fairies and sprites and crazy things like that running about in it. But in some ways this play is even more like a fairy-tale. The play also starts off a bit like Othello – where jealousy inspires acts of vengeance, even though the cause of the jealousy is baseless and the product of a mind fevered by suspicion. The first half of the play ends pretty much wer ...more
Oct 12, 2007 Chris rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
One of Shakespeare's last four, this usually gets filed under Romance in the more modern anthologies, but you could just as easily file it under fustercluck. There's an underlying logic to this bifurcated tale, but I'm not sure I buy it. It's a sharply divided tragi-comedy. The first three acts are a compressed tragedy of Leontes, who puts the insane in insanely jealous. It's hurried, and despite hints that Leontes' masculine insecurities have festered for years, the violence of his reaction to ...more
Laurel Hicks
This is one of my favorite Shakespearean plays. It's like a fairy tale that is pagan in setting but Christian in its themes, which include guilt, repentance, redemption, resurrection, forgiveness, grace,and love. There are, in a sense, two plays here, divided by the passage of time. The first play ends with the stage note, "Exit, pursued by a bear." This time through, I listened to the audio production from my Arkangel Complete Shakespeare set. An added benefit of this audio--Ciaran Hines plays ...more
Keith Mukai
Feb 06, 2007 Keith Mukai rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Written near the very end of Shakespeare's run, this is a mature work from a mature writer. It has elements that are oddly light and somewhat comical but it's not quite a comedy. It's not a tragedy either. I think it's more a fairy tale about forgiveness late in life and magically being granted a second chance. This is wish-fulfillment from a writer who must have experienced a lot of personal pain.

It's also the most heartfelt and insightful depiction of love and relationships that I've seen in t
Cindy Rollins
You can see Shakespeare getting darker and darker as he ages. I would despair if I didn't know two of his best plays are still to come.

One thing you do notice is that Shakespeare understands redemption. He offers it to even the worst tyrants. Not many writers are brave enough to that.
Jun 01, 2007 Kelly rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: hardcore Shakespeare fans. This one is a bit more difficult to get into.
This is one of the more bizarre plotlines. With bizarre characters. Which don't fit together. The plot doesn't quite cobble enough for me. It's like a puzzle, where the edges of the pieces sort of lay on top of each other, instead of locking together. So you end up with Niagara Falls falling off backwards on the picture. There are some interesting statements made here, and a few scenes of good fun... but if you're going to read some Shakespeare? There are many other ones to read first.
Liz Janet
May 03, 2016 Liz Janet rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favourites
A beautiful queen named Hermione, resurrection, the oracle of Delphi, a jealous husband, someone trying to do good gets eaten by a bear, royalty does not know is royalty, love wants to conquer, happy end.
David Sarkies
Jul 10, 2015 David Sarkies rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Nobody really
Recommended to David by: Highschool
Shelves: romance
Not one of the Bard's best efforts
15 June 2014

Some people have suggested that when it comes to very old, or even ancient literature, the fact that we still have it is testimony to the lasting quality of that work, and as such it should not be rated, or more aptly receive a low rating, because of that. Okay, I agree that this is certainly the case when it comes to a lot of the ancient literature that we have, but I also suggest that maybe some rubbish has also come down to us. Then there is also
Ea Solinas
Apr 30, 2011 Ea Solinas rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"The Winter's Tale" is one of Shakespeare's most underrated works, probably because it can't be easily classified as a romance or a comedy. That's a shame, because this lush, emotionally-wrenching little play displays Shakespeare's powerful writing and fine grasp of human nature. It's just incredibly moving and exquisitely written.

Polixenes, the King of Bohemia, has been visiting his pal King Leontes in Sicilia, and eventually he wants to go home. But after Queen Hermione convinces him to stay
Jan 31, 2008 Holly rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I remember listening to my 12th grade english teacher explain why he didn't like the book. It has too much, he said. The romance and the lost child and the political intrigue and the clown and magic. But that's exactly why I love it: the giant jumble of everything Shakespeare loved to explore. I love the surprisingly strong and well-developed female characters. I love the story and the wild adventures that happen, but which are all grounded in an emotional story about love, family and regret. Pe ...more
Mar 23, 2010 Bruce rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is University of Virginia’s Professor Clare Kinney’s favorite Shakespeare play, and as she described it in her final Teaching Company lecture, she was clearly moved to tears. I recall having seen it at the Chicago Shakespeare in 2002 or 2004; it was good, and I was eager to experience it once again, this time, alas, only in the reading.

Act I details the dawning and development of Leontes’ baseless jealousy of his innocent wife, Hermione, and his best friend, Polixenes, a jealousy that threa
From BBC Radio 3 - Drama on 3:
Eve Best, Danny Sapani and Shaun Dooley star in the magical product of the Bard's later years. Treading new dramatic ground The Winter's Tale embraces tragedy, poetry, folklore, magic realism, music, comedy and the infamous stage direction "exit pursued by a bear".

Part of the BBC Shakespeare Festival.

Music composed by Tim Van Eyken, Singer Lisa Knapp.

4* Antony and Cleopatra
4* A Midsummer Night's Dream
3* Twelfth Night
5* Lenny H
Jan 17, 2016 Xueting rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Here's my professor's study question for this play: Would you suggest that Leontes’s problem has to do with jealousy, or is it something much worse?

Honestly I think if it's something worse than jealousy it's just even more stupid.

Truly the strangest Shakespeare play I've read (and I think of all). Act 1 scene 2 already made me want to pull my hair out because of the unnecessary and unconvincing wordiness!!! King Leontes must top the list of most annoying and senseless characters. Then the bear.
Rachel (Kalanadi)
Dec 15, 2015 Rachel (Kalanadi) rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: drama
I really enjoyed this even though it's crazy and the beginning and ending don't fit each other. Seriously, what the hell was Leontes thinking? And a statue came to life? And all is forgiven or something? But it was entertaining!
Mar 27, 2016 Kailey rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This story is all over the place, but I loved the random plot and the clueless characters! I can't figure out if it's a hilarious tragedy or a dark comedy, but I was certainly never bored.

In this play, King Leontes is suddenly struck with the erroneous belief that his wife, Hermione, is cheating on him with his childhood friend, King Polixenes. He descends into a form of madness, trying to assassinate his friend, publicly accusing his wife of being unfaithful, and sentencing his actual child (wh
May 18, 2009 James rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: british, plays, classics
Shakespeare’s The Winter’s Tale is a bizarre, ranging comedy. The play jumps so lightly between slapstick and cruelty that it’s unclear whether it’s a dark farce, a bloody satire exposing the dangers of absolute power, or a moldy amalgam of cuckoldry, class, and misogyny.

The premise has a king baselessly charge his queen with infidelity. He believes she’s slept with his brother, who wisely flees a plot to murder him. Suspected adultery is a common hook for Shakespearean comedy, with misunderstan
Adapted from Robert Greene's pastoral romance 'Pandosto', the play starts with Leontes, King of Sicilia, suspecting his wife Hermione of having an affair with his childhood best friend Polixenes, King of Bohemia. Chaos ensues as the king's jealousy destroys his friendship, marriage and family but we have a happy end, even if it's a little forced. It is a credit to the author's talent that he can make Leontes seem worthy again of happiness after enduring loss and pain for sixteen years. The whole ...more
Nada Khaled
وعلى رأي المثل:
"إللي يزيد عن حده يتقلب ضده" :D

Here it was an excessive Jealousy which resulted from an excessive Love..
That blinding Jealousy that makes you ruin your life..
lose your dearest friend,
try to kill your baby,
sentence the woman that you loved the most..

Actually, There's a fine line between jealousy and suspicion ..
And here, His jealousy changed gradually into suspicion ..

I liked it anyway ..

And I'll say it one more time,
Whoever you read for, Shakespeare's always different ..
Nancy Burns
Not William-Shakespeare's best play...but I read it.
I wanted to go to London to see Judi Dench and Kenneth Branagh in The Winter's Tale' . Unfortunately, the play was sold out! Next best the original.

My review:
When I read this in High School last, I believed that I loved it more than all the other Shakespeare plays combined, and it still holds a ton of charm for me now, although not quite as much as before.

For one, the thief was slightly more annoying than as a charming plot device.

For another, it's hard to believe that even divorce could be so reconciled. :)

Granted, this is an almost magical divorce, so why not ramp up the reconciliation to wipe away the tragedy of a child's death, the loss of the ne
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Catching up on Cl...: The Winters Tale -- Buddy Read 9 38 Jan 14, 2017 09:45AM  
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William Shakespeare (baptised 26 April 1564) was an English poet and playwright, widely regarded as the greatest writer in the English language and the world's pre-eminent dramatist. He is often called England's national poet and the "Bard of Avon" (or simply "The Bard"). His surviving works consist of 38 plays, 154 sonnets, two long narrative poems, and several other poems. His plays have been tr ...more
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“A sad tale's best for winter: I have one of sprites and goblins.” 260 likes
“Exit, pursued by a bear.” 255 likes
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