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“O, she’s warm!”: The taking of hands … and bears … and time’s … in The Winter’s Tale

Shakespeare wrote words and plays. Words might well be considered to be the ‘life blood’ of a play. But plays are more than words. Plays have characters, movement, costumes and props. Words inhabit and animate, give rhyme and reason to an actor being on a stage, performing for an audience. But between the words, the play still exists. This thesis is an exploration of those ‘moments’ that are played out in silence and are watched rather than heard. To tell the story of The Winter’s Tale, Shakespeare was faced with some specific problems. There are essentially two tales to be told in the space of one play. The first requires for an all consuming jealousy to be played out. He solved this with a simple and understandable wordless action. Then to conclude this first tragic section, the story demanded that a helpless baby be abandoned - lost. Here he used an old trick in a new and surprising way, to be played quickly and, with his unerring sense of staging, for a laugh. The second tale then had to begin, and the baby had to become a woman. For this he used a convention - unconventionally. Finally, at the end of the play, he decided to change the story. To conclude his tale, the tale he was telling, with an image of redemption, reconciliation and hope. Of all the moments, this is the one that is the quietest, slowest and most beautifully painted. This thesis is an exploration of those moments. A discussion about how Shakespeare, who has probably added more words into the lexicon that any other person, was also essentially a visual artist. That he ‘drew and painted and sculpted’ - creating stage pictures.
Type of thesis
Forbes, M. A. (2011). ‘O, she’s warm!’: The taking of hands … and bears … and time’s … in The Winter’s Tale (Thesis, Master of Arts (MA)). University of Waikato, Hamilton, New Zealand. Retrieved from https://hdl.handle.net/10289/5735
University of Waikato
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