Acts IV and V of The Winter’s Tale are so different from the first three acts that they can seem to be from a different play. Shakespeare abruptly shifts from the tragic mode of the play’s first half into a comic mode. It’s the contrast between winter and spring. In these final two acts, we see differing dynamics between parents and children, but in each case, the children bring positive things to their parents.

One central question of acts IV and V: why should parents be grateful to their children? The relationship between parent and child is often portrayed as a one-way street, with the child solely in the role of recipient. But parents receive many often-unacknowledged benefits from their children, and some of those can be seen in The Winter’s Tale.

10 vocabulary words still in use today from this part of the play are provided, as well as response journal questions and a rubric with which to score them.

This video is preceded by part 1 (Act I) and part 2 (Acts II and III). All line numbers are from the 2009 Folger Shakespeare Library edition.

Pinched for time? These videos have much of what a secondary teacher would need to begin planning a curriculum around this play. The Winter’s Tale may not be suitable for children younger than 14 due to its adult sexual content.

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© Daniel Sato