The Winter's Tale, Romance Genre, Shakespeare, Supernatural
The romantic elements of mixing genres and the influence of the supernatural within Shakespeare's The Winter's Tale have led to the critics' rejection of the play. Leontes's, the tragic hero's, interaction with the oracle in the play thus becomes a metaphor for this rejection, as it is a rejection seemingly based on a desire for realism. In reality, it is a rejection predicated on an inability to recognize that the romantic elements of the play are in fact what makes it realistic, a belief that is essential to understanding and appreciating the message of the play. The mishmash of genres has resulted in critics' contempt. This contempt is mirrored by Leontes' reaction to the oracle and becomes a metaphor for a rejection of the play. The Winter's Tale actually faces unavoidable resistance to being taken seriously because it is easy to dismiss the happy ending created by romantic elements. Even with this happy ending, most of the losses in the play reveal that romances mix comedy and tragedy; this happy ending, while happy, is not an easy-out. What is required to overcome a skepticism of the truth of the play is a willingness to, as Paulina explains, "awake [one's] faith" (Shakespeare V.iii.95).
Intensive reading, discussion, and (in some sections) viewing of plays from the comedy, tragedy, romance, and history genres.
BYU ScholarsArchive Citation
Olson, Rachel, "Choosing Not to Believe: Realistic Unrealism in The Winter's Tale" (2013). All Student Publications. 96.
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