Essay on Misfortune and Comedy in Shakespeare's Play, A Winter's Tale

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A Winter’s Tale by William Shakespeare is a chilling play full of misfortune and comedy. Throughout the play, the themes of death and suffering are present, but yet the way in which they are presented is both comical and strange. The way in which the dialogue takes place or the way in which actions occur seem to be ambiguous. One of the most pivotal points of the story takes place over a very short time span, climaxing over three pages, and declining almost immediately thereafter. In this case, the death of Hermione and Mamillius occurs and is resolved, with their burial following quickly after. The wording throughout the text can be interpreted in several ways, especially in the way which death is represented throughout the play. Death…show more content…
However, strangely none of the deaths occur on stage, rather both deaths are announced to the king through someone else. Paulina being the most important of the messengers, for she was the one caring for both Hermione and Mamillius. The way in which she announces Hermione’s death is peculiar, “I say she's dead; I'll swear it. If word nor oath prevail not, go and see: if you can bring tincture or luster in her lip, her eye, heat outwardly or [breathe] within” (50). She confirms that Hermione is in fact dead, but still want Leontes to go forth and see for himself. Strange considering that before this point Paulina had changed her views towards the tyrant king. Paulina no longer respected her king as before, for he had gone blind with rage. Leontes up and till this point had discredited his queen, already he had forgotten how to bring out the luster or breath in her. All he saw was an adulterous, somebody guilty of high treason. Death changed Leontes, for he no longer sought revenge nor did he want to dispel his wrath. Instead he now saw his mistakes, and would like to mend them, but sadly cannot. The events that have occurred are done, and there is no way of going back to change them. Leontes himself sees this, and now the play may move on from the wretchedness that was the “new” ruler. Now the focus can shift to the daughter that he had banished before, that was believed unimportant till learning
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