We’ve turned the corner from tragedy to comedy! It’s time to illustrate the romantic scenes from Shakespeare’s play! I really hope the kids enjoy today’s installment of The Winter’s Tale. I’m quite looking forward to the kids’ illustrations of “TIME” and of our young lovers. [And, Act Four Scene Four is the second longest single scene in Shakespeare!]
The Winter’s Tale Act IV, A Brief Summary
TIME appears on stage to announce that 16 years have passed since we last met up with our characters. Out of grief, King Leontes has gone into seclusion. In Bohemia, where the scene is set, King Polixenes asks for Camillo’s help in keeping his son, young Prince Florizel, away from the poor shepherdess, Perdita, with whom Florizel is in love. Meanwhile, a rogue named Autolycus picks the pocket of a Clown at a town market.
Before the Shepherd’s feast, Perdita reveals her concerns about Florizel’s attentions: she knows that the king wouldn’t approve of their love; she’s just a poor shepherdess. Florizel insists that he’ll marry her come what may. The Shepherd, the Clown, and several shepherd girls arrive at the festival. So do Polixenes and Camillo, disguised as shepherds. Guests dance, and Autolycus sings. After most of the minor characters leave, Polixenes reveals himself and attempts to make Florizel renounce Perdita by threatening the lives of Perdita and the Shepherd, her guardian. The King leaves in anger, while the Shepherd leaves in fear. Camillo, who wants to go back to his homeland, suggests that the two young lovers disguise themlseves and run off to Sicilia. When Autolycus comes back onto the scene, Camillo orders him to change clothes with Florizel, while Perdita dresses as a boy. As it turns out, however, Camillo is not that interested in helping the young lovers. He reveals that he plans to tell Polixenes about the lovers’ flight so that, in chasing after them, he can get back to Sicilia himself. Autolycus figures this out and plans to take advantage of his knowledge of Camillo’s deceptiveness. He also overhears the Shepherd and the Clown talking about their plans to tell the king that Perdita is not the Shephed’s child, as they found her as a fairy child, wrapped in lavish golden blankets. Autolycus offers to take these two to the king, but he really plans on taking them to Florizel so that he can try to make money by “doing a favour” for the prince.
As it turns out, the kids were most interested in drawing Autolycus’ descriptions of what might happen to the Clown in light of the King’s anger at the romance of Florizel and Perdita. And here, I thought Time was going to be the clear winner!
Tobes & Bea:
IV iv 785-90, Autolycus: “He has a son, who shall be flayed alive, then ‘nointed over with honey, set on the head of a wasps’ nest, then stand til he be three quarters and a dram dead; then reovered again…set against a brick wall…with flies blown to death.”
Tobes Left: IV iv 276-282, Autolycus: “Here’s another ballad of a fish that appeared upon the coast…forty thousand fathom above water, and sung thsi ballad against the hard hearts of maids: it was thought she was a woamn, and was turned into a cold fish for she would not exchange flesh with one that loved her…”
Right: IV iv 153-5, Florizel: “But come; our dance, I pray,/Your hand, my Perdita; so turtles pair/That never meant to part.”
Bea: Clown, Father Time
Bea: IV iv, 230-2, Autolycus: “Come buy of me, come! come buy! come buy!/Buy, lads, or else your lasses cry!/Come buy!”
Me: IV iv 666-7, Camillo: “I shall re-view Sicilia, for whose sight/I have a woman’s longing.”
Blaise: IV i, 21-24, Time: “…and remember well,/I mentioned a son o’th’king’s which Florizel/I now name to you; and with speed so pace/To speak of Perdita, now grown in grace…”
Blaise: IV iv 273-4, Clown: “Come on, lay it by; and let’s first see moe ballads:/we’ll buy the other things anon.”