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The Winter's Tale

William Shakespeare

William Shakespeare

Summary of the plot or story
The story shifts moves King Leontes' court in Sicilia and Bohemia. The complications arise from King Leontes' and his Queen's friendly attentions to the visiting King of Bohemia. Despite a trial at which the Oracle from Delphi declares the queen guiltless, the King banishes her.

Their young son, Mamillius dies of grief but the Queen's newborn baby daughter, Perdita, is snatched from death by a Bohemian shepherd who raises her his daughter. There's a time lapse of sixteen years between the Queen's banishment and the story's long-delayed happy ending and with a few  surprises.

Information provided about the play
William Shakespeare never published any of his plays and therefore none of the original manuscripts have survived. Eighteen unauthorised versions of his plays were, however, published during his lifetime in quarto editions by unscrupulous publishers (there were no copyright laws protecting Shakespeare and his works during the Elizabethan era). A collection of his works did not appear until 1623 (a full seven years after Shakespeare's death on April 23, 1616) when two of his fellow actors, John Hemminges and Henry Condell, posthumously recorded his work and published 36 of Williamís plays in the First Folio. Some dates are therefore approximate other dates are substantiated by historical events, records of performances and the dates plays appeared in print.

Date first performed
It is believed that The Winter's Tale was first performed between 1610 and 1610. In the Elizabethan era 
there was a huge demand for new entertainment and The Winter's Tale would have been produced immediately following the completion of the play.

Date was first printed
It is believed that The Winter's Tale was first printed in 1623 in the First Folio. As William Shakespeare clearly did not want his work published details of the play would have therefore been noted, and often pirated without his consent, following a performance.

The settings for the drama
The settings for The Winter's Tale are Sicily and Bohemia

Theme of the play
The play The Winter's Tale is categorised as a Comedy

Number of words
The number of words in The Winter's Tale, according to the Complete Public Domain Text is 25,984.

Most important characters
The most important characters in The Winter's Tale are: King Leontes, Perdita

Famous Quotes / Quotations
The quote from the Winter's Tale are amongst Shakespeare's most famous including 'You pay a great deal too dear for what's given freely' Details of this famous quote follows, complete with information regarding the Act and the Scene, allowing a quick reference to the section of the play that this quotation can be found in. Please click here for the full text of the script of the play.

"You pay a great deal too dear for what's given freely". - (Act I, Scene I).

William Shakespeare's Main Source
Shakespeare found the story in "Pandosto", written in 1588 by Robert Greene. Greene's reference to Shakespeare in his autobiography, Greene's "Groatsworth of Wit" (1592) referred to him as an "upstart crow".

The Cast and Characters
Click the link to access a list of all the cast and characters.

Text - script of Winters Tale the play by William Shakespeare
Cast and characters in Winters Tale the play by William Shakespeare
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