This play marks the end of my Shakespeare reading marathon. The Winter's Tale
is actually a good place on which to end, since it’s essentially a blending of tragedy and comedy, more in keeping with the concept of a courtly romance, focusing on the themes of loss and reconciliation.
The beginning has that creepy element like Othello, a husband’s unfound jealousy for his wife, a jealousy that leads to madness. Leontes’ plans for revenge are indeed sick. If the play ended after the first three acts with all of that loss and heartache, it would definitely have been a labeled a tragedy. But at the beginning of the 4th act, Time becomes a character fastforwarding sixteen years, allowing the audience to see how the next generation helps bring about a reconciliation for past wrongs. Those last two acts are quite good and have a more modern feel. And in fact when I studied this for one of my college courses, my professor paired it with Austen’s [b:Persuasion|2156|Persuasion|Jane Austen|http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51I%2B8kXYtLL._SL75_.jpg|2534720]. With that comparison, the ideas of reconciliation—and even social mobility—become all the more pronounced.
A good play, though that final section where the “statue” comes to life is a bit over the top, in my opinion.