ABSTRACT

In The Winter's Tale we have a vivid portrayal of how the couple relationship can become, or perhaps inevitably does become, a setting of intense emotions in which truth itself becomes precarious. In the face of Leontes' certainty that Hermione has been false to him, all protestations to the contrary are swept aside, whether from Hermione herself or from Leontes' own courtiers. Indeed, Apollo's oracle too is dismissed by this husband who knows he has been betrayed, betrayed by his wife, betrayed by his childhood friend, betrayed by his loyal minister. And Shakespeare presents this perversion of truth as an attack on the newborn child, the mother's baby, as well as an attack on the mother herself.