“See you these clothes?”

In Act IV-V, it became even more clear how important the idea of status was to these characters in their world. There were so many examples of this that I highlighted in the text and right now, I will focus on three.

The first pertains to my blog post title: “See you these clothes?” (V.ii.140). Here, the shepherd’s son boasts about his newfound fortune to Autolycus. He then refers to himself as a “gentlemen” as the King has helped change he and his father’s status from common men to gentlemen in just a matter of hours. It is clear that both men feel they have a leg-up now on others due to their new clothes, respect, and position in society.

The second idea in which status plays a major role is when Perdita is thought to be a better woman and allowed to marry Florizell as soon as she is deemed to be the King’s daughter. She is a kind, smart, and beautiful woman, but none of this meant anything to those besides Florizell because she was seemingly a “shepherd’s daughter” and not fit to be the husband of a prince. This dynamic was so interesting to see play out.

Finally, the third place in which I saw status influence the play was with Paulina. In Act V, Scene 1, she bursts into a meeting with Leontes and his men and essentially demands, and then makes him swear, that he will never marry another woman again without her consent. WHAT A POWER MOVE. Paulina = Queen! But in all seriousness, she ends up being a major champion for all women in this play based on the fact that she doesn’t care about status or position as much. Like Beatrice and other strong female characters we have seen, she cares very little about what others think of her or the repercussions of her “speaking out of turn” or disrespecting her status in relation to others. And I think this is what gives her her power!

3 comments

  1. The talk around Perdita was always interesting to me. I agree with you that class issues really showed its colors in this part of the play. It is as though somehow they could sense Perditas status as a royal and that’s how she seemed to be so beautiful as just a commoner.

  2. I really noticed this throughout the play as well. I found it incredibly interesting when Polixenes was disguised with Claudio and admitted that she looked far above her class, yet still looked down on the marriage. I think that really goes to show how important class was in 15th and 16th century England.

  3. I love how you talked about Paulina, and how you compare her to Beatrice. It’s interesting to see two female characters to challenge the norm (marriage/women’s rights in Much Ado and classism in Winter’s Tale) and it’s interesting to see how their storylines play out when compared.

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