The Winter's Tale: Context

The Winter’s Tale: Context

  • William Shakespeare: The well-known playwright and poet, Shakespeare, penned ‘The Winter’s Tale’ as one of his later plays and his intricate language and themes reflect his maturity as a writer.
  • Globe Theatre: The Globe Theatre, where many of Shakespeare’s plays were first performed, would have influenced the ways in which ‘The Winter’s Tale’ was acted out, particularly in relation to the audience interaction and the use of its stage space.
  • King James I: During the reign of King James I, when ‘The Winter’s Tale’ was written and performed, Shakespeare’s depiction of monarchy and court intrigue may have reflected or even critiqued the political atmosphere of the time.
  • Jacobean England: The Winter’s Tale reflects many aspects of Jacobean society, including its beliefs and attitudes towards women, magic, and social hierarchy.
  • The King’s Men: As a member of the King’s Men, Shakespeare wrote plays that were intended to cater to the tastes and sensibilities of the Jacobean court, which is reflected in the courtly settings and themes of ‘The Winter’s Tale’.
  • Religion in Shakespeare’s England: With the dichotomy between the pagan and Christian elements in the play, ‘The Winter’s Tale’ reflects the complex, often conflicted religious climate of Shakespeare’s England.
  • Problem Plays: As one of Shakespeare’s ‘Problem Plays’, ‘The Winter’s Tale’ contains elements of both comedy and tragedy, reflecting the evolving tastes and expectations of the Jacobean audience.
  • Source Material: ‘The Winter’s Tale’ is based on Robert Greene’s ‘Pandosto’, a fact that provides insight into Shakespeare’s use of existing stories and the ways he adapted them to create new dramatic effects.