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Scheherazade
06-29-2008, 06:33 AM
Please post your thoughts on Act II of The Winter's Tale in this thread.

Scene I (http://www.online-literature.com/shakespeare/winter/3/)

Scene II (http://www.online-literature.com/shakespeare/winter/4/)

Scene III (http://www.online-literature.com/shakespeare/winter/5/)

Nightshade
07-02-2008, 05:43 PM
Well seems its taken everyone a while to work up to starting Act ii so Ill go ahead and say although only read scene i
How old is Max supposed to be??
also this sounds a bit like she has a secret doesnt it?

When you shall come to clearer knowledge, that
You thus have publish'd me! Gentle my lord,
You scarce can right me throughly then to say
You did mistake.

Scheherazade
07-04-2008, 07:22 AM
Mam is about 5-6, I think.

I am not sure which part of the passage you are refering to but here she is saying that when she is worried about the time when Leon will find out the truth (ie she is innocent) because he will be in a difficult situation then, I believe.

In Scene I, Mam says "A sad tale's best for winter: I have one / Of sprites and goblins." I think this is the first reference to the title in the play. It is a sad story but it is also "a tale"... Something told for entertainment and maybe not to be taken too seriously?

bouquin
07-04-2008, 09:36 AM
Mam's sad winter story seems to foreshadow the tragedy that's right about to happen in the royal household of Sicilia that very same season, doesn't it? .... More so since he starts off by narrating that:

There was a man, -
Dwelt by a churchyard.
(Act II, Scene i: 40,42)

Doesn't Leon eventually mourn profoundly the loss of his loved ones?
Also, Mam's storytelling is cut short by the arrival of his father (act II, scene i, 46). That seems to foreshadow the young prince's death as well, and with his father being basically responsible for it.

Scheherazade
07-04-2008, 10:06 AM
Mam dies????

:-/

CognitiveArtist
07-04-2008, 12:25 PM
Mam's sad winter story seems to foreshadow the tragedy that's right about to happen in the royal household of Sicilia that very same season, doesn't it? .... More so since he starts off by narrating that:

There was a man, -
Dwelt by a churchyard.
(Act II, Scene i: 40,42)

I definitely agree that Mamillius' story is a playful allusion to the play itself. As helpful commentary in my version of the play noted, it's The Winter's Tale, not A Winter's Tale. some entertaining metafiction, which perhaps helped make performances of this rather tragic play more comedic.


This self-referential comedy is further seen by Hermione's taunting of Mamillius' storytelling, its as if she is saying "imagine your worst!"
HERMIONE
Let's have that, good sir.
Come on, sit down: come on, and do your best
To fright me with your sprites; you're powerful at it.The irony being her husband's imaginings are something she wouldn't at all beckon. That winter tale she wouldn't want to progress.


I also agree with about every other opinion I've read. The play seems centred upon Leontes and his runaway imagination, the jealousy he cultivates from scant supporting evidence and his other paranoias. Also knowledge in general seems a key theme, and the possibility of too much knowledge, reading too close (I could write a book on the art of over-interpretation! :)) Like this delightful, comical phrase illustrates
LEONTES
How blest am I
In my just censure, in my true opinion!
Alack, for lesser knowledge! how accursed
In being so blest! (2:1 36-39)


What could possibility be meant by the spider description? I'm not quite sure
LEONTES
...There may be in the cup
A spider steep'd, and one may drink, depart,
And yet partake no venom, for his knowledge
Is not infected: but if one present
The abhorr'd ingredient to his eye, make known
How he hath drunk, he cracks his gorge, his sides,
With violent hefts. I have drunk,
and seen the spider. (2:1 39-45)

Scheherazade
07-07-2008, 04:59 PM
I think in those lines Leon is implying that even though he is seeing what everyone else is seeing, he is the only one who can really understand the real meaning behind (ie the affair between his wife and his best friend)? In my text, there is a note saying that in old days it was believed that spider poisoned drinks.

Quark
07-13-2008, 04:35 PM
Mam's sad winter story seems to foreshadow the tragedy that's right about to happen

That's a good point, and I like how you implicate Leontes and Mamillus in the story. The only thing I might add is that Hermione's reaction to the tale is also revealing. Mamillus asks her what the best mood for the story and she replies that it should be merry.


Mam. Merry, or sad, shall't be?

Her. As merry as you will.

Mam. A sad tale's best for winter.

Despite the fact that sadness is better suited for the situation, Hermione prefers a happier option. This is characteristic of her as we'll see later on. When she's accused and imprisoned by Leontes she responds with optimism and poise. She will later say


There's some ill planet reigns;
I must be patient, till the heavens look
With an aspect more favorable. (105-107)

and this is her attitude throughout the ordeal. She refuses to react to her gloomy situation, and prefers to wait until happier times.


The play seems centred upon Leontes and his runaway imagination, the jealousy he cultivates from scant supporting evidence and his other paranoias. Also knowledge in general seems a key theme, and the possibility of too much knowledge

At least the first three acts are centered on Leontes's jealousy. The first act sets up the psychological aspect of it, and the second act is showing the social repercussions of it. Interestingly, he seems to relent somewhat here. Toward the end of the act the social pressure put on him finally starts to break his resolve. He's forced to send someone to the oracle.


I think in those lines Leon is implying that even though he is seeing what everyone else is seeing, he is the only one who can really understand the real meaning behind (ie the affair between his wife and his best friend)? In my text, there is a note saying that in old days it was believed that spider poisoned drinks.

I agree, and my edition also has a similar note. Who's going to go against two notes?

Charles Darnay
07-13-2008, 05:27 PM
Going back to what Scher pointed out: it is a "sad tale" a tale - fictitious story. Shortly after is Leontes' speech about his wife's infidelity - a story which the audience knows to be false. His story is a sad tale - based on falsehoods. His speech is also entertaining - as a tale is - filled with such playful literary devices as caesuras and containing very silly analogies as his fishing metaphor. His constant tripping over himself in his lines also takes away from Leontes' speech, hammering in the fact that it is a "tale" - an foreshadow what is to come in Act V (shhhh)

Quark
07-13-2008, 05:39 PM
Going back to what Scher pointed out: it is a "sad tale" a tale - fictitious story. Shortly after is Leontes' speech about his wife's infidelity - a story which the audience knows to be false.

I think you're right that there's a parallel between Mamillius's narrative about "sprites and goblins" and Leontes's narrative about supposed infedelity. Both use fantasy and imagination. This brings Mamillius's little story back to the main theme (as it's been deemed so far) in the larger play.

Looking elsewhere, though, what other themes can we find in this act beside rampant imagination? I thought the social implications of Leontes's rage might be one, but I'm sure there are others.

Virgil
07-13-2008, 06:45 PM
Going back to what Scher pointed out: it is a "sad tale" a tale - fictitious story. Shortly after is Leontes' speech about his wife's infidelity - a story which the audience knows to be false. His story is a sad tale - based on falsehoods. His speech is also entertaining - as a tale is - filled with such playful literary devices as caesuras and containing very silly analogies as his fishing metaphor. His constant tripping over himself in his lines also takes away from Leontes' speech, hammering in the fact that it is a "tale" - an foreshadow what is to come in Act V (shhhh)

Yes I agree with everyone that this is a sad tale. Despite the ship of state being righted in the end the ramifications of what took place can never be resolved. This is definitely no comedy. Total justice cannot be achieved. What took place cannot be over turned.

Charles Darnay
07-13-2008, 06:48 PM
Yes I agree with everyone that this is a sad tale. Despite the ship of state being righted in the end the ramifications of what took place can never be resolved. This is definitely no comedy. Total justice cannot be achieved. What took place cannot be over turned.

while this is true, the only real tragedy is Mamillius' death.

I support the categorization of tragicomedy for this one.

Quark
07-13-2008, 07:20 PM
I support the categorization of tragicomedy for this one.

Yeah, the play splits down the middle--half tragedy, half comedy. If it leans in any one direction, it's probably comedy since the play ends with the typical comedy conclusion.

Virgil
07-13-2008, 07:37 PM
while this is true, the only real tragedy is Mamillius' death.

I support the categorization of tragicomedy for this one.
Except the many years of estangment of Leontes and Hermione. She is exiled for the central core of her life.


Yeah, the play splits down the middle--half tragedy, half comedy. If it leans in any one direction, it's probably comedy since the play ends with the typical comedy conclusion.
Well, I don't see it down the middle. I see it as leaning mostly to a sadness.

Quark
07-13-2008, 07:53 PM
Except the many years of estangment of Leontes and Hermione. She is exiled for the central core of her life.

That's all passed over, though. It belongs to the first three acts, and doesn't enter into the comedy of Acts IV and V much.


Well, I don't see it down the middle. I see it as leaning mostly to a sadness.

One could say that both the Sicily and Bohemia parts of the play are filled with sadness. I think the overwhelming mood of the play does lean in that direction. Yet, the definitions of tragedy and comedy don't come from mood but rather from plot. The comedic plot involves reconciliations, lovers coming together, antagonists being overcome, and a general sense of a society forming around the protagonist(s). The tragic plot is the opposite in which the protagonist is alienated from society and antagonist(s) win out. The mood usually is more upbeat in the comedy, but nothing in the definition of comedy makes it so. I agree that the play is more sad than happy, but that shouldn't obscure the classification of the plot.

papayahed
07-13-2008, 10:13 PM
I'm thinking that Act II shows how easy it was for Leontes to jump to conclusions, how easy it is to see things that aren't there:

Camillo was his help in this, his pander:—
There is a plot against my life, my crown;
All's true that is mistrusted:—that false villain
Whom I employ'd, was pre-employ'd by him:

Quark
07-14-2008, 12:25 AM
I'm thinking that Act II shows how easy it was for Leontes to jump to conclusions, how easy it is to see things that aren't there:

He's just repeating himself by this point, though. His jealousy reached its highest pitch in Act I in his asides and conversation with Camillo. By now it seems like he's cooled somewhat, and his fevered tone has been replaced by a cold, cynical language. Before he was outraged by new ideas, but now they're commonplaces to him. "Of course Camillo would revolt!" he seems to say. When he gets to the part you quoted:


Camillo was his help in this, his pander:—
There is a plot against my life, my crown;
All's true that is mistrusted:—that false villain
Whom I employ'd, was pre-employ'd by him:

it's like he just repeating the conventional wisdom. What's new in Act II is that he's starting to bring his accusations out into the open. The other characters now have a chance to respond, and the byplay between them and Leontes creates the action of Act II.

papayahed
07-14-2008, 07:28 PM
But if you look at it, Leontes has twisted things around saying:

Camillo was his help in this, his pander:—
There is a plot against my life, my crown;

If I'm not mistaken isn't he accusing Camillo of working for Polixenes and the two plotted to kill Leontes?

Quark
07-14-2008, 07:37 PM
If I'm not mistaken isn't he accusing Camillo of working for Polixenes and the two plotted to kill Leontes?

But did you think that Camillo's flight was really going to make Leontes see the truth? Leontes is so far gone by this point that when he accuses Camillo it isn't really shocking. That's why I say it doesn't express a new side of Leontes when he attacks Camillo.

papayahed
07-15-2008, 07:47 AM
But did you think that Camillo's flight was really going to make Leontes see the truth? Leontes is so far gone by this point that when he accuses Camillo it isn't really shocking. That's why I say it doesn't express a new side of Leontes when he attacks Camillo.

That's not what I said at all. I'm saying that Leontes is so far from thinking correctly he has accused Polixenes and Camillo of the very thing that he has done. In the quote Leontes says "there is a plot against my life, my crown" He is accusing Polixenes and Camillo of plotting to kill him when in fact Leontes is the one that did the plotting.

Quark
07-15-2008, 03:27 PM
That's not what I said at all.

Sorry, I didn't mean to twist your words or anything like that. I was just trying to point out that Leontes's jealousy is nothing new at this point in the play. When you said:


I'm thinking that Act II shows how easy it was for Leontes to jump to conclusions

It sounded as though you were arguing that Leontes jumping to conclusions is something unique to Act II, or that Act II is primarily concerned with Leontes jumping to conclusions. I don't know if you meant it that way, but that's the impression I got. That's why I wanted to make it clear that--while, yes, Leontes's accusation of Camillo is new--Leontes's assumptions are not unique to this part of the play. Also, I was hoping to deflect the conversation away from a discussion of Leontes jumping to conclusions--which we've already talked about some--and toward a discussion of Leontes's differences between Act I and Act II--which no one has really commented on yet.

Unfortunately, I'm not going to be doing much commenting today because of the extreme heat here. When it cools down tonight I'll pop in and see what's going on.

papayahed
07-15-2008, 10:11 PM
It sounded as though you were arguing that Leontes jumping to conclusions is something unique to Act II, or that Act II is primarily concerned with Leontes jumping to conclusions. I don't know if you meant it that way, but that's the impression I got. That's why I wanted to make it clear that--while, yes, Leontes's accusation of Camillo is new--Leontes's assumptions are not unique to this part of the play. Also, I was hoping to deflect the conversation away from a discussion of Leontes jumping to conclusions--which we've already talked about some--and toward a discussion of Leontes's differences between Act I and Act II--which no one has really commented on yet.


I don't know why you can't read my mind?? It seems to me to go from "you're sleeping with my wife" to "you're trying to kill me" is a big leap, it's the first thing that jumps out in Act II, (until of course bad *** Paulina shows up.)

Quark
07-17-2008, 12:32 AM
It's been tough trying to post recently. It's been over 90 two days in a row, and my computer is in a poorly ventilated room upstairs. Just checking my email is chore. Hopefully tomorrow won't be so unbearable.


It seems to me to go from "you're sleeping with my wife" to "you're trying to kill me" is a big leap, it's the first thing that jumps out in Act II, (until of course bad *** Paulina shows up.)

Yeah, it's quite a leap. I was just saying that we're probably used to big leaps by this point. We've already seen in Act I how he lept from a hand clasp to Mamillus is Polixenes's son. Wild accusations are just part of Leontes's usual routine by Act II.

Virgil
07-23-2008, 08:47 AM
I'm trying to catch up. I was preoccupied with reading The Road and work was demanding the last couple of weeks. Let's see what i can say about ActII.


I definitely agree that Mamillius' story is a playful allusion to the play itself. As helpful commentary in my version of the play noted, it's The Winter's Tale, not A Winter's Tale. some entertaining metafiction, which perhaps helped make performances of this rather tragic play more comedic.

Yes, except he doesn't get very far. We know it will be a sad story because "A sad tale's best for winter" (lI, i, 34) and Mam will tell one of "sprites and goblins." He starts to tell it as you point out CogA, but it gets interupted. In essence, Mam's tale is aborted, very much like his life.


while this is true, the only real tragedy is Mamillius' death.

I support the categorization of tragicomedy for this one.
Only? I don't believe the other tragicomedies have an irreversable event such as the death of a child. To recall a famous speech from McBeth:

Lady Macbeth:
How now, my lord, why do you keep alone,
Of sorriest fancies your companions making,
Using those thoughts which should indeed have died
With them they think on? Things without all remedy
Should be without regard: what's done, is done.
(Macbeth Act 3, scene 2, 8–12 )
What's done is done. It can't be made right. Death is irreversable and an unjust death will never be set right. Can you imagine to the parents the murder of a child? It is forever life altering and no social justice can ever resolve the event. I don't believe any of the other tragicomedies have this type of event.


That's all passed over, though. It belongs to the first three acts, and doesn't enter into the comedy of Acts IV and V much.

So you consider the exile of half your life to be insignificant? I know you're in your early twenties Quark, but imagine being 50 and for 30 years (more than you have currently lived) been forced to be away from what you consder home. I think Shakespeare is purposely selecting events in this play that no level of right at the end satisfies what has occured.


One could say that both the Sicily and Bohemia parts of the play are filled with sadness. I think the overwhelming mood of the play does lean in that direction. Yet, the definitions of tragedy and comedy don't come from mood but rather from plot. The comedic plot involves reconciliations, lovers coming together, antagonists being overcome, and a general sense of a society forming around the protagonist(s). The tragic plot is the opposite in which the protagonist is alienated from society and antagonist(s) win out. The mood usually is more upbeat in the comedy, but nothing in the definition of comedy makes it so. I agree that the play is more sad than happy, but that shouldn't obscure the classification of the plot.
It does reconcile at the end, and given the definitions of tragedy and comedy and tragicomedy, yes this is a tragicomedy. But I think it stands differently from the others.

egale
10-26-2008, 06:33 AM
please post your thoughts on act ii of the winter's tale in this thread.

scene i (http://www.online-literature.com/shakespeare/winter/3/)

scene ii (http://www.online-literature.com/shakespeare/winter/4/)

scene iii (http://www.online-literature.com/shakespeare/winter/5/)

i have just opened the literary forum and found this subforum. Since it has already started, may i join? When will this subforum end and much are we supposed to read per week to take part in the forum? I am very interested and would like to know how to start.

Thank you.

Scheherazade
10-29-2008, 12:24 PM
Welcome to the Forum, Egale. The discussions are on-going so you can join in any time you feel ready.

RG57
11-09-2008, 07:48 PM
I'd like to join in this forum, would be best to start on the present play or start fresh when the next one is selected?

Scheherazade
11-10-2008, 05:24 PM
Hello RG,

It is your choice, really. We still have about 3 weeks to go on this play so it you would like, you can read this one too before moving onto the other one.

Looking forward to reading your comments! :)

RG57
11-10-2008, 09:35 PM
Hello RG,

It is your choice, really. We still have about 3 weeks to go on this play so it you would like, you can read this one too before moving onto the other one.

Looking forward to reading your comments! :)

great, thanks - will throw myself into it tomorrow :thumbs_up