Madeline's Reviews > The Winter's Tale

The Winter's Tale by William Shakespeare
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Jan 18, 09

bookshelves: 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 and stumbles to the bar.

WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE: Guys, I just got the best idea EVER for a play.
CHRISTOPHER MARLOWE: That’s great Bill...hang on, why are your eyes so red? Jesus, have you been at the opium den AGAIN?
BEN JONSON: Seriously dude, twice a day is plenty.
SHAKESPEARE: SHUT UP AND LISTEN. Okay, so there’s this king, right, and he thinks his wife is cheating on him, but she’s really not, but he doesn’t know that, so he puts her on trial and she dies – I’m not sure how yet, I’ll work it out later - and then...
MARLOWE: Um, Bill, I think you already did that one.
SHAKESPEARE: No, this one is DIFFERENT, because it’s a million times cooler. Anyway, there’s gonna be a witch -
JONSON: Did that already, too
SHAKESPEARE: - and siblings getting separated -
MARLOWE: Several times.
SHAKESPEARE: - and then there’s gonna be a bear attack, and then at the end, a statue COMES TO LIFE.
*long, awkward silence*
MARLOWE: Well, that sounds...different.
JONSON: Bill, I gotta be honest, I don’t think people are gonna go for this one. Why don’t you just write another history play?
SHAKESPEARE: Oh yeah, like I’m going to take writing advice from YOU, Jonson.
MARLOWE: Oh god, here he goes.
SHAKESPEARE: Honestly, you call yourself a writer? Don't make me laugh, kid. I invented the word “eyeball”, did you know that? Eyeball. What the fuck have YOU done?
MARLOWE: Listen, Bill, he just meant that...
SHAKESPEARE: And YOU! Thinking you’re so great just because you wrote some play about a guy who summons the devil – which was totally my idea first! “Was this the face that launched a thousand ships and burnt the topless towers of Illium.” *spits on the ground* Great line, genius. Like anyone’s even going to remember that piece of shit ten years from now.
JONSON: William, cut it out. You’re going to get us kicked out, AGAIN.
SHAKESPEARE: He’s a spy, you know. He works for the fucking MAN. NARC!
MARLOWE: God damn it, Bill, keep your mouth shut. Do you want me to get stabbed to death?
SHAKESPEARE: Ah, fuck you all. I’m going to be more famous than either of you, just wait and see!
JONSON: Not the way you’re going. I bet in a hundred years people won’t even be sure if you actually ever EXISTED.
SHAKESPEARE: Oh, go to hell, Jonson. *falls down*
MARLOWE: Come on, let’s get him to the doctor. A few leeches should cure what ails him.
SHAKESPEARE: Hey, did I ever tell you guys about the time I nailed Viola de Lesseps?
JONSON: You’re so full of shit, dude.

and SCENE.

ps: just fyi, in case anyone tries to show off how smart they are and points out that Marlowe wasn't alive when Shakespeare wrote The Winter's Tale, I will seriously slap you. Over the INTERNET.
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Comments (showing 1-11 of 11) (11 new)

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message 1: by Paul (new)

Paul "Madeline Reviews, Inc."? That sounds... different.

Ah, Maddy... when will you get a job doing this kind of writing for a living? You make my day and make me so thankful that I majored in English whenever I read your pithy and piggybacking postmodern reinterpretations of the originals!


message 2: by Whitaker (new)

Whitaker Ah, Shakespeare as an opium fiend. Couldn't get better. Unless it's Shakespeare as sex-crazed meth fiend. Wait, that wasn't invented yet.

I agree that the play's ridiculous but it's oddly more palapatable on stage. I just saw the RSC put it up and I had a surprisingly good time.


message 3: by Robert (new)

Robert I'm pretty sure sex was invented hundreds of millions of years before Shakespeare's time.... ;-)


Madeline Meth, however, probably wasn't. People back then didn't even have the scientific knowledge necessary to recognize that dumping dead bodies in the streets wasn't helping the plague outbreaks, much less figure out how to brew meth in their garages.

And I enjoyed seeing the play live, right up until the statue came to life. Then I was just sitting there in complete bafflement.


message 5: by Robert (new)

Robert I need a symbol to place after comments that indicates facetiousness! ;-) isn't working very well. ;-)


message 6: by Whitaker (new)

Whitaker Madeline wrote: "And I enjoyed seeing the play live, right up until the statue came to life. Then I was just sitting there in complete bafflement."

Ok, I have to agree with you there. That was a bit of a giggle and a half.


message 7: by ★ Jess (new)

★ Jess I unliked this review, just so I could like it again. Its that amazing.


Madeline I love that.


Jillian Love your version, as always! This play wasn't bad but Othello was so much better and deals with the same themes. This felt like a low production version of The Tudors.


message 10: by Charlotte (new)

Charlotte I think this may be the only way too summarise Winters Tale. Not his best moment. I was going with it (hey, it's Shakespeare, of course this child is saved by shepherds who are somehow immune to bears) until the statue came too life. Seriously Shakespeare, wtf? Could the king not just feel a miserable? It's not like you never wrote about Emo kings before...


David Sarkies Well, I must agree with you that there is one thing that Shakespeare was not, and that is original.


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