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The Alcestis and the Statue Scene in The Winter's Tale


Critics have long been intrigued by correlations between the statue scene in The Winter's Tale, 5.3, and the climax of Euripides' Alcestis, ll. 1006‐1158. However, the Alcestis has not been generally recognized as a possible source for The Winter's Tale, largely because of the prevailing view that Shakespeare did not read Greek. This article looks again at evidence linking Shakespeare's play to George Buchanan's 1539 translation of the Alcestis into Latin. Buchanan interpolates the word statura at a crucial moment in his version of the recognition scene. This article traces verbal correspondences that suggest that this interpolation of the statue motif provides a clear model for the statue scene in Shakespeare's play.

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