Short Summary of Winter's Tales: "Winter's Tales" by William Shakespeare



The play is all about the seeds of jealousy taking roots in the heart of Leontes, the king of Sicilia for his best friend Polixenes, the king of Bohemia. Leontes has a feeling that his wife, Hermione, has been paying a bit too much of attention to his friend. The embers of jealousy lead to near enmity between the best friends of old times. Leontes tries to poison his friend. The king appoints the best of his counsels, lord Camillo, to do the job. But noble Camillo feels that the king is unjustified and tyrannical in his suspicion and act of accusing his wife and friend with the charge of adultery. Camillo informs the Bohemian king and both of them flee out of Sicilia.

Here Leontes, infuriated and desperate, throws his wife into the prison cell. Upon the request of several of his advisors and courtiers, the king sends for the prophecy and advice of the Oracle. But even before the men have returned with the proclamation of the gods, Leontes banishes his new born baby girl, Perdita, in the far off lands of Bohemia. Soon, the proclamation comes from the Oracle pronouncing the king as tyrannical and the queen as innocent. The king refuses to accept the words of the oracle. But the sudden death of his son forces him to believe that he was on the wrong.

There is a prophecy that the king cannot bear any child unless the banished daughter be found. Paulina, a faithful lady of the court hides the queen with false news that she is dead. Leontes turns tragic; he is totally broken and grieved. He wants to repent. He visits the supposed grave of his wife daily with tears of embarrassment in his eyes. He also requests the king of Bohemia for reconciliation and feels sorry for his misdeeds.

On the other hand, in Bohemia, the little child is found by a shepherd. The shepherd is pleased to see a lot of gold and jewels with the innocent girl. He decides to adopt the girl by himself. The years run by and the girl becomes a young lady of such a beautiful countenance that the prince of Bohemia falls in love with her. His name is Florizel. When he is often found missing in the court and other activities, the king of Bohemia and Camillo reach the shepherdess and the prince. The king advises the prince to abandon the girl but the prince is adamant of marrying her.

The king goes back in anger while Camillo helps Florizel to run away with the young girl to Sicilia with the message that he has come from the state of Bohemia with his newly wed princess. He is warmly welcomed by the king of Sicilia. But soon follows the king of Bohemia and the shepherd who discloses the true identity of the girl. The two kings recognize the jewels found with the young girl. The play seems to end with the marriage of the princess but there is a happy surprized for the king Leontes; his queen is not dead. She had decided to hide herself from her husband till her only child was found.




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