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Winters tale

  1. The Winter’s Tale What is this play?
  2. Comedy? Classified with the comedies in the First Folio of 1623 Ends with couples reunion of Leontes and Hermione pending marriage of Paulina and Camillo pending marriage of Perdita and Florizel
  3. Tragedy? King makes a terrible error and his line is seemingly dead ―Infection‖ of the king by jealousy Loyalties tested Honor valued over obedience
  4. Romance? ―stories of exotic adventure and travel, shipwrecks, spiritual and/or moral quests, romantic love, reunions of lovers and families long separated, virtue tested and proved triumphant, and nobility hidden and then discovered – all unfolding in a world familiar with supernatural forces, wide-ranging marvels, magic, and enchantment‖ (Snyder)
  5. Tragicomedy? John Fletcher: ―A tragicomedy is not so called in respect of mirth and killing, but in respect it wants deaths, which is enough to make it no tragedy, yet brings some near it, which is enough to make it no comedy: which must be a representation of familiar people, with such kind of trouble as no life be questioned, so that a God is as lawful in this as in a tragedy, and mean people as in a comedy.‖
  6. Genre according to the Shepherd ―thou met‘st with things dying, I with things new- born‖ (3.3.109-110) ―This is fairy gold, boy, and ‗twill prove so‖ (3.3.117-118)
  7. Tragicomic Romance Genre suggested by Barbara Mowat Elements of tragicomedy and romance that are compatible and complementary
  8. Pastoral Court or city versus country Country is often idealized Good example: Christopher Marlowe‘s ―Passionate Shepherd to His Love‖ (1599) Sheep shearing festival at 4.4
  9. ―Generic Copiousness‖ Copia: varying an idea to achieve expansive richness as a stylistic goal Multiplying genres
  10. Cheap Print Autolycus‘s Ballads
  11. Vagrancy & Broadside Ballads
  12. The Cooper of Norfolk
  13. Paulina‘s ―Witchcraft‖ Challenges to Authority in The Winter’s Tale
  14. Leontes. Out! A Mankind witch! Hence with her, out o‘ door! A most intelligencing bawd! (2.3.66-68)
  15. An Homily Against Disobedience and Willful Rebellion (London 1570) ―kings and princes [. . .] do reign by God‘s ordinance‖ ―Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God‖
  16. James I on Absolute Monarchy ―For kings are not only God‘s lieutenants upon earth, and sit upon God‘s throne, but even by God himself they are called gods.‖
  17. James I on Absolute Monarchy ―God has the power to create, or destroy, make, or unmake at his pleasure, to give life, or send death, to judge all, and to be judged nor accountable to none; to raise low things, and to make high things low at his pleasure, and to God are both soul and body due. And the like power have kings.‖
  18. James I on Just King vs. Tyrant Just king obeys the law ―So as every just king in a settled kingdom is bound to observe that paction [contract] made to his people by his laws‖ Tyrant makes up the rules as he goes along ―And therefore a king governing in a settled kingdom leaves to be a king, and degenerates into a tyrant as soon as he leaves off to rule according to his laws.‖
  19. James I on Absolute Monarchy BUT subjects may not rebel ―so is it sedition in subjects to dispute what a king may do in the height of his power. But just kings will ever be willing to declare what they will do, if they will not incur the curse of God.‖ From A Speech to the Lords and Commons of the Parliament at Whitehall, March 21, 1610
  20. Chain of Authority GOD ↓ KING ↓ HUSBAND/FATHER
  21. Leontes as Absolute Monarch Why, what need we Commune with you of this, but rather follow Our forceful instigation? Our prerogative Calls not your counsels, but our natural goodness Imparts this; which if you or stupefied, Or seeming so in skill, cannot or will not Relish a truth like us, inform yourselves We need no more of your advice. The matter, The loss, the gain, the ord‘ring on‘t, is all Properly ours. (2.1.161-170)
  22. Juan Luis Vives on the Behavior of Women ―Thou hast broken, thou false woman, the most holy band of temporal law, that is to say, thy faith and thy truth, which once given, one enemy in the field will keep to another though he should stand in danger of death, and thou like a false wretch doth not keep it to thine husband, which ought to be more dear unto thee by right than thyself.
  23. Juan Luis Vives on the Behavior of Women Thou defilest the most pure church, which holp to couple thee; thou breakest worldly company; thou breakest the laws; thou offendest thy country; thou beatest thy father with a bitter scourge; thou beatest thy sorrowful mother, thy sisters, thy brethren, thy kinfolk, alliances, and all thy friends; thou givest unto the company once an example of mischief and castest an everlasting blot‖ (The Instruction of a Christian Woman 112-113)
  24. Paulina‘s ―Disobedience‖ Leontes. How? Away with that audacious lady! Antigonus, I charged thee that she should not come about me; I knew she would. (2.3.41-44)
  25. Paulina‘s ―Disobedience‖ Antigonus. I told her so, my lord, On your displeasure‘s peril and on mine She should not visit you. Leontes. What, canst not rule her? (2.3.44- 46)
  26. Paulina‘s ―Disobedience‖ Paulina. From all dishonesty he can; in this, Unless he take the course that you have done— Commit me for committing honour—trust it, He shall not rule me. (2.3.47-50)
  27. Paulina‘s ―Disobedience‖ Leontes. A gross hag! And losel, thou art worthy to be hanged, That wilt not stay her tongue. Antigonus. Hang all the husbands That cannot do that feat, you‘ll leave yourself Hardly one subject. (2.3.107-111)
  28. Reading Paulina‘s Witchcraft Witchcraft excuses Paulina‘s transgression Witchcraft pushes her to the margins of the play
  29. Agnes Heard Depositions focus on a series of domestic and familial incidents. Milk dish Spinning trouble ―she could no longer spin nor make thread to hold‖ (94) Borrowed money Spoiled milk ―the next day, she would have skimmed her milk bowl, but it would not abide the skimming‖ (95)
  30. Counter-magical Remedies ―women who feared bewitchment were also paradoxically enabled … to take action against the witch, action which might involve behaviours at variance with the range of feminine ideals available to women in the early modern period‖ (127).
  31. Counter-magical Witchcraft It was believed that ―illness or maleficium can be drawn out of one body by another‖ (123). Purkiss tells the story of a midwife who healed sick people using the bodies of infants, claiming that ―the breath of the children would suck the spirits out of‖ (123) the sick person. Paulina. The good queen, / … hath brought you forth a daughter - / Here ‗tis (2.3.64-66)
  32. Infection Camillo. ―Who does infect her?‖ (1.2.306) Leontes. ―How I am gall‘d‖ (1.2.316); ―I have tremor cordis on me‖ (1.2.109); ―And that to the infection of my brains‖ (1.2.144); ―I have drunk, and seen the spider‖ (2.1.45) Camillo. ―‖in rebellion with himself‖ (1.2.354) Polixenes. ―then my best blood turn / To an infected jelly‖ (1.2.416-417)
  33. The Whole Kingdom is Ill Paulina. I come to bring him sleep. ‗Tis such as you That creep like shadows by him and do sigh At each his needless heavings, such as you Nourish the cause of his awaking. I Do come with words as medicinal, as true— Honest as either—to purge him of that humour That presses him from sleep. (2.3.33-39)
  34. Paulina‘s ―Cure‖ Paulina. I dare be sworn. These dangerous, unsafe lunes I‘the‘King, beshrew them! He must be told on‘t, and he shall; the office Becomes a woman best. I‘ll take‘t upon me; If I prove honey-mouthed, let my tongue blister, …The silence often of pure innocence Persuades when speaking fails. (2.2.28-32; 40-1)
  35. Authority? Paulina. I care not; It is an heretic that makes the fire, Not she which burns in it. I‘ll not call you tyrant; But this most cruel usage of your Queen, Not able to produce more accusation Than your own weak-hinged fancy, something savours Of tyranny, and will ignoble make you, Yea, scandalous to the world.(2.3.115-20)
  36. The Oracle Officer. ‗Hermione is chaste, Polixenes blameless, Camillo a true subject, Leontes a jealous tyrant, his innocent babe truly begotten, and the King shall live without an heir if that which is lost be not found.‘ (3.2.130-134)
  37. Leontes Denies There is no truth at all i‘th‘ oracle. / The sessions shall proceed; this is mere falsehood. Apollo‘s angry, and the heavens themselves / Do strike at my injustice. (3.2.138-139; 144-145)
  38. Leontes Cedes Power Leontes. Thou didst speak well When most the truth, which I receive much better Than to be pitied of thee. (3.2.230-232)
  39. Conclusion Counter-magic to combat evil Alternative to violent and tyrannical authority Infection caused by ideology of absolute rule
  40. Final Exam Information 1.5-hour Exam on eLearning no excuses for technical difficulty, so start early (email if crash & I can reset) open from 12/14 at 8am until 12/17 at 5pm 3 IDs (45 minutes) 1 essay question (45 minutes) contribute question/revision via eLearning before 12/10 drawn from the three you choose as a class on 12/12
  41. Passage Identification In your answers to these questions you must: 1. Identify the name of the work; 2. Identify the context of the passage (what happens before and after and, where appropriate, the speaker); 3. Discuss the significance of the passage in its context; 4. Discuss the significance of the passage in terms of the larger themes of the work in which it appears; and 5. Discuss how each passage contributes to the meaning of its work overall. You will earn the majority of the points in this section for a thoughtful discussion of the passage‘s significance supported by evidence from the passage. Please pay specific attention to the language of the passage in your discussion.
  42. Essay Questions should be about works since the midterm; ask the writer to draw connections across multiple works; and be complex enough to require 45 minutes to answer.
  43. Papers Due 12/10 by 5pm I will be in my office 10-11:15am that day for last- minute questions about your paper; please come by or email.

Editor's Notes

  1. Part of the genre problem is illustrated by Autolycus’s selling of broadside ballads at the sheepshearing festival. These cheap print items blended genres themselves and were widely read.
  2. Broadside ballads are a good measure of early modern culture generally, if for no other reason than their proliferation. At the cost of about a penny, ballads were cheap enough to be bought on the street by people who made only meager wages, and they were remarkable enough to be collected by people as financially comfortable as Samuel Pepys. There were thousands of ballads printed and perhaps even millions circulated during the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. Even when copies of the printed ballads were not being exchanged, they were often sung in alehouses, playhouses, and on the street. Ballads are therefore perfectly placed as documents of their times. In fact, John Selden famously claimed: “More solid things do not show the complexion of the time so well as ballads and libels.” The pervasiveness of ballads for reading, singing, buying, or hanging up—not to mention for more lowly uses such as pie lining or toilet paper—suggests that they were accessible to just about everyone. They were historical markers that showed “the complexion of the time,” and are therefore most important for understanding early modern culture.
  3. Here is a title page from one of the many witchcraft trial narratives. This one is from 1613, and as you can see, the woodcut depicts punishment for the witch. Typically, when we encounter a witch in a text from the early modern period, we consider that witch to be the product of a coherent cultural narrative: a specific kind of witch—bad—who functions in a certain way in the text—as an outsider or other figure.
  4. One example of the kinds of stories Purkiss looks at is that of Agnes Heard. For example,Bennet Lane lent Heard a dish of milk and when Heard didn’t return it, Lane asked her daughter to pick it up. Heard sent the dish back and Lane begins to have trouble completing her everyday spinning tasks. Another time, when Lane borrowed money from Heard, she discovered that she had trouble with her dairy. The case of Agnes Heard is indicative in that the anxieties seem to center around the household and food. Witches attacked the domestic sphere—the sphere of women.
  5. The idea of infection runs throughout the play as a way of thinking about Leontes’s jealousy—it leads him to tyranny, which infects not just his body, but the whole kingdom.