Sicily and the otherworld in the Winter's tale
Bramlett, Elisabeth Jane
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In The Winter’s Tale, Shakespeare inverts the settings of his source, Robert Greene’s Pandosto, by placing Leontes, the jealous husband and parallel to the Bohemian king Pandosto, in Sicily and Polixenes, the opposite of Greene’s Sicilian king Egistus, in Bohemia. It is unclear why Shakespeare makes this change, and the purpose of this project is to investigate the possible reasons for this reversal. I believe Shakespeare made this change both to place Leontes literally in the vicinity of the entrance to the Christian otherworld, and to strengthen the parallel between the myth of Proserpina and the loss and recovery of Perdita (and Hermione). Examining the Christian elements of the play alongside the myth of Ceres and Proserpina will be the focus of this essay.