The Winter’s Tale play is set in Sicily and Bohemia. Shakespeare gives the land-locked Bohemia a coastline with ports, showing a gap in his geographical knowledge. It makes no difference the the high quality of the play, however.
Date written: 1610 or 1611
Genre classification: The Winter’s Tale is generally regarded as one of Shakespeare’s tragedies.
Main characters in The Winter’s Tale: Leontes is the King of Sicilia. He is a good, kind man, who becomes irrationally jealous and creats havock among his friends and family. He finally repents and tries to make up for it.
Hermione is Leontes’ wife and the Queen of Sicilia. She is the victim of Leontes’ jealousy and suffers badly.
Polixenes is the King of Bohemia and an old friend of Leontes. He’s the object of Leontes’ jealousy.
Perdita is Leontes’ beautiful daughter. Leontes, believing her to be the result of his wife’s adulterous relationship orders her to be abandoned in the countryside and she is raised by a shepherd.
Florizel, son of Polizenes, falls in love with Perdita.
Camillo is a loyal lord at the court of Sicilia. He finally brings everyone together for the resolution.
Paulina is the wife of a Sicilian courtier. She is brave and steadfast, opposing Leontes throughout, acting as his conscience. See all characters in The Winter’s Tale.
The Winter’s Tale themes: Jealousy and its effects is the main theme of The Winter’s Tale. The limitations and defects of kingly authority is another. Social class and attitudes feature heavily in this play. The corruption and sterility of sophisticated city life versus the purity of the natural life of the countryside is an important theme.