This week on The Literary Life, our hosts Angelina Stanford, Cindy Rollins and Thomas Banks are back to discuss Act 2 of The Winter’s Tale by Williams Shakespeare. After sharing their commonplace quotes, they begin with a brief recap of the plot. They highlight the story begun by Mamillius upon the entrance of Leontes in Act 2, Scene 1. Angelina explores the concept of Leontes as a tragic hero. Our hosts also get into the ideas of constancy versus inconstancy, lunacy and the Renaissance view of women as changeable. Shakespeare, on the other hand, portrays a man as the one who is changeable and the woman as constant.
As we continue through this act, our hosts highlight Leontes’ illness and how it infects Mamillius. They also talk about Paulina as a sort of foil for Leontes, as well as her strength of character in the face of the king’s unreasonable behavior. Cindy points out the unthinkable nature of Leontes’ desire to burn his own wife and child. Thomas points out the similarities of the plot line of A Winter’s Tale to late Greek and Roman comedies.
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The Winter’s Tale Show Schedule:
- February 11: Act III
- February 18: Act IV
- February 25: Act V
- March: Live Q&A for Patreon Fellows
Those Winter Sundays
by Robert Hayden
Sundays too my father got up early
and put his clothes on in the blueblack cold,
then with cracked hands that ached
from labor in the weekday weather made
banked fires blaze. No one ever thanked him.
I’d wake and hear the cold splintering, breaking.
When the rooms were warm, he’d call,
and slowly I would rise and dress,
fearing the chronic angers of that house,
Speaking indifferently to him,
who had driven out the cold
and polished my good shoes as well.
What did I know, what did I know
of love’s austere and lonely offices?
Robert Hayden, “Those Winter Sundays” from Collected Poems of Robert Hayden, edited by Frederick Glaysher. Copyright ©1966 by Robert Hayden.
Range by David Epstein
There Was a Man Dwelt by a Churchyard by M. R. James
Chanticleer and the Fox by Barbara Cooney
The Aethiopica by Heliodorus
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