The Winter’s Tale is a play by William Shakespeare originally published in the First Folio of 1623. Although it was grouped among the comedies, many modern editors have relabelled the play as one of Shakespeare’s late romances. Some critics consider it to be one of Shakespeare’s “problem plays” because the first three acts are filled with intense psychological drama, while the last two acts are comedic and supply a happy ending.
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The setting is Sicily, and Polixenes, the King of Bohemia, is visiting his childhood friend, Sicily’s King, Leontes. Leontes suspects that his wife Hermione and Polixenes are having an affair and he becomes murderously jealous. Leontes tells Camillo, one of his lords, that he wants him to poison Polixenes. Camillo, however, informs Polixenes of the plan, and the two men quickly depart for Bohemia.