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Shakespeare & Beyond

Folger Director Michael Witmore on his favorite Shakespeare play: The Winter's Tale

Michael Witmore. Photo by Chris Hartlove
Michael Witmore. Photo by Chris Hartlove

What makes The Winter’s Tale so compelling? Folger Director Michael Witmore shares spoiler-free insights about this Shakespeare play in three short videos.

Here’s why he considers The Winter’s Tale his favorite Shakespeare play:

In this video, Witmore reflects on one of his favorite lines from The Winter’s Tale: “an art that nature makes…” See the line in context using the Folger Shakespeare, a free Folger resource for reading and searching Shakespeare’s plays.

Why do we call The Winter’s Tale a romance? Romances are “very clearly stories about things that happen that are impossible or just improbable,” Witmore says.


The Winter’s Tale is my favorite too. I think the depiction of jealousy,is one of the best in all literature, even more powerful than Othello, but I loved the ending too.

Edward Palumbo — March 6, 2018

Mine too..for its mastery of language, its shaping, its wisdom, its compassion towards us in our human frailty and vulnerability, in its enactment of sin, guilt, expiation, the renewal in each generation, in its deep probing of the relation of art and life, and in the beauty of life throughout..

Michael J. Toner — March 8, 2018