The Winter's Tale by William Shakespeare
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
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 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 newborn as well, the wrongful accusation and downfall of a true wife, and his betrayal of his loyal servant JUST BECAUSE he's been regretting all his actions for 20 years?
It's a very strong story if we're meant to feel pity for the old man. He regains everything except his eldest child because he was sincere in his remorse. It's damn beautiful, even, but in the end it's pure fantasy.
This was written at the end of Shakespeare's career and it was possibly meant to be his own expression of remorse. It fits the narrative, anyway, in the same way that Mozart wrote his own Requiem.
However, from an alternative reading of the text, I can't help but hate the blasé disregard for Hermione, the way she quietly retired away out of anyone's company for 20 years after the events (or she really did die and come back as a reanimated statue, which is slightly more palatable because at least she wouldn't have been so bored or lonely,) or the way that the rest of the world could even ALLOW THESE EVENTS TO HAPPEN IN THE FIRST PLACE.
Look. I'm just upset at the state of the world here. I suppose Shakespeare is upset about it as well. After all, he focuses the second act entirely upon letting young people choose who they want to love and paint all other choices as tyrannical, and Perdita herself certainly knows her own mind, so it's not all black-and-white in the play. Her mother also knew her own mind when she used her wits to do as her husband bade, too, but we all know how that turned out.
Double-standards and insane jealousy seems to be the name of the game for us all, no? *sigh*
Still, it's undeniably a brilliant play. :)
View all my reviews