One of Shakespeare’s later plays, best described as
a tragic-comedy, the play falls into two distinct parts. In the
first Leontes is thrown into a jealous rage by his suspicions of
his wife Hermione and his best-friend, and imprisons her and orders
that her new born daughter be left to perish. The second half is a
pastoral comedy with the “lost” daughter
Perdita having been rescued by shepherds and now in love with a
young prince. The play ends with former lovers and friends reunited
after the apparently miraculous resurrection of Hermione.
John Pitcher’s lively introduction and commentary
explores the extraordinary merging of theatrical forms in the play
and its success in performance. As the recent Sam Mendes production
at the Old Vic shows, this is a play that can work a kind of magic
in the theatre.
For more than a century educators, students and general
readers have relied on The Arden Shakespeare to provide the very
best scholarship and most authoritative texts available.
The Third Series editions’ added emphasis on all aspects
of Shakespeare performance extended the Arden editions readership
to also become the preferred text for theatre professionals.