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The Winter's Tale

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How we can make sense of a play that veers from tragedy to comedy and stretches credulity in its conclusion? That's the topic for this fifth Approaching Shakespeare lecture on The Winter's Tale.

One of Shakespeare's last plays, The Winter's Tale (1611) splices tragedy and comedy to audacious effect: in this lecture Smith tries to think about why, and to what effect. And what is going on with that most famous of stage directions, 'exit pursued by a bear'? Using the sources to clarify Shakespeare's technique, this lecture argues that the play is an experiment, which has had some very successful recent stage revivals.