Ideal Rule in Shakespeare's Romances: Politics in "The Winter's Tale" and "The Tempest"
MetadataShow full item record
The Winter’s Tale (1611) and The Tempest (1611) are two of Shakespeare’s romances, written under the patronage of James I of England. While Shakespeare’s history plays have received extensive critical attention regarding their political commentaries, these have not. History raises political questions by nature; however, it is also important to look at the political dimensions of Shakespeare’s fictional rulers. The Winter’s Tale’s Leontes, and The Tempest’s Prospero, because of their invented natures, allow the playwright to explore contemporary political crises or questions with more freedom than history allows. Shakespeare’s political exploration of these men involves assessing their fitness to rule, comparing their transformations to texts concerning kingship, such James’s political treatises. These texts raise the possibility that Shakespeare is similarly investigating a model of the ideal king. Looking at the elements of power, knowledge, and patriarchy, my thesis focuses on what Shakespeare is suggesting about ideal rule and the ruler.