The Winter's Tale

The Significance of Time and Place: Comparing 'The Tempest' and 'The Winter's Tale' College

The utilisation of time and place is of great consequence in the late plays, The Tempest and The Winter’s Tale. In the former, Shakespeare creates unity of both time and place in order to explore his central concerns, whereas the latter is disparate in both elements, with the action taking place between two settings – namely Sicilia and Bohemia – and over a time span of sixteen years. Despite such differences, time and place function in both plays to communicate Shakespeare’s concerns; in particular, the idea of regeneration is highlighted through the dramatic significance of each of these elements.

In The Tempest, there is a unity of time and place which reminds us that Prospero, as a symbolic rendering of the playwright himself, is in control of much of the action, especially at the start as he lays out his plans to Miranda:

“Hast thou, spirit, Perform'd to point the tempest that I bade thee?”

In this way, we see that Prospero is in control of time within the play in that he will utilise it to bring his enemies to justice while they remain on the island. There are regular references to time within the play, even the shipwreck itself is not solely the result of Prospero’s magical abilities, but also:

“depend[s] upon / A most...

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