When we Discuss Play “The Winter’s Tale” As A Tragic Comedy, we analyse most of the dramas of Shakespeare in depth & detail and come to know that tragedy and Shakespeare go side by side and for this reason, he had been termed as a great tragic dramatist of his age. It is not absolutely right to say because he had also written some great comedies e.g. “Twelfth Night”,  “The Winter’s Tale” which is a great tragicomedy.

Though there are many scenes which are replete with tragic events, incidents, sufferings, sorrows and destruction yet at the end of the drama, all the viewers and readers get satisfied. As for other tragedies are concerned e.g. “Othello”, in which Othello’s jealousy leads the action of the drama to tragedy, but here we find that it ends in the regeneration of Leontes, the reunion of husband and wife, mother, daughter and father. As the drama starts, the readers get the view of a comic play but as the play proceeds and in the middle, they find tragic situations but again the ending of the play seems to be comic one. This very structure of the play, terms it as a tragic comedy and same is the case with the last dramas of Shakespeare.

In this play, we find another great quality of Shakespeare that he converts our attention into the regeneration process and we find ourselves in the position that we are not reading or watching a tragedy. In most of the time, we match a process of regeneration which occurs after the disintegration and that’s why everything ends in good in the closing scene. Leontes, like Othello, is led to believe that his queen is unfaithful to him.

This very element of unfaithfulness gives birth to the plot in action. He blames Hermione of being guilty of adultery with his friend Polixenes and starts going to the extent of saying that the queen is pregnant which is the result of an illegal intercourse between them. Only on the basis of this doubt, he sends the queen behind the bars and appoints Camillo to give poison to his enemy Polixenes.

Polixenes who knows about the changed disposition and treatment to himself from Camillio’s mouth and both of them flee from Sicillia. After turning fully against his queen, he even does not accept her newly born child. As the queen is brought to an open court for trial on the charge of adultery and high treason; suddenly, hearing the news of the death of Mamillius, she. dies soon. This shocks Leontes very much and he starts repenting and utters in acute agony:  

Prithee, bring me

To the dead bodies of my queen and son: One grave shall be for both:

Upon them the causes of their death uppeur; unto our shame perpetual. 

Now, the decline or destruction of Leonte’s has reached its climax and Apollo also declares him guilty of doubt which shocks and terrifies him greatly & he starts repenting. Here, he confesses and admits that he has done wrong at a great deal but still there is hope or ray for coming towards goodness from badness. Leontes personality or character is different from Hamlet and Macbeth characters because in Leontes’ character, we find no prolonged soul — searching an inward conflict. In Leontes’ case, we find the justification of his repentance after the Laps of 16 years and Hermione is given forgiveness after the same lapse.

Here, in this drama, we find Shakespeare connecting the earlier tragic story and the later comic story. Though tragic and comic incidents & happenings are delicately connected with a brief process of transition yet the tragic action is beautifully shifted to the happy end in which every issue is resolved so masterfully by the writer.

Polixenes and Camillo who have disguised as old shepherds, come there to attend the feast which is an absolutely happy and beautiful pastoral — romantic scene. Here we start imagining that we are watching a perfect comedy but soonly the King discloses himself and disapproves of the alliance between Florizel and Perdita. Again, we see that this drama turns towards tragedy when this young couple hopes and goes to Sicillia on the suggestion of Camillo who also wants to go back to his homeland after the reconciliation of the two angry kings.

As directed by Camillo, the couple reaches at the court of Leontes and presents them as the missionaries of peace and friendship from Polixenes.

Camillo who plays a very important role in the drama, suggests polexịnes to pursue the couple. In this way, all the major characters reach Sicillia and once again, Leontes’ court becomes the center of action where true identification of Perdita is revealed. Here Leontes’ destruction and loss are cured or covered when he discovers his lost daughter in Perdita and through her an heir to his throne in Florizel. The ending of the drama which is happy one, here in the famous statue – scene, Hermione is also brought back to “life” and reconciled to her husband. Finally, Camillo and Paulina are joined in the bond of marriage.

To conclude this topic, it can be said safely that all is good in the happy ending like a superb and fine comedy. All the readers and viewers become satisfied when they find happiness and contentment which come after a long time and process of sufferings, destruction and repentance. The lapse of 16 years which serves as a saint of purgation and ultimately purges the soul of Leontes from all the sins and he finds his daughter as well as an heir for his kingdom.


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