The end of The Winter’s Tale closes in a very obscure way, causing one to question whether or not the ending is actually real. There were plenty of points where I felt that the story was going to continue, and it was actually the closing of a story arc. The most prominent example of this was at the return of Hermione, and whether or not there was still more story left in her. There also was no mention of what she was up to for the 16 years that she was “dead.” There is still no clear answer as to whether or not she is actually alive, as the only one that saw her death was Paulina. So did Paulina hide her away? Paulina’s insistence that the king remains faithful to Hermione also brings to question if she knew that Hermione was alive. Really, this entire play almost feels unfinished, almost as if Shakespeare meant to write a sequel, similar to Richard III. In fact, it would make more sense if Shakespeare had written a second play that would begin either telling what was taking place during the sixteen-year gap in the story or instead beginning with Leontes at the end of the gap. Perhaps Shakespeare did not have enough time to write sequels?
Overall, I think that this play is sweet. For everything that happens, I did really enjoy the ending and thought that it was a sweet story. I’m a sucker for romance stories and picturing Leontes embracing Hermione and his overwhelming happiness is a good close for him. I would also say that there is also something admirable about the fact that Leontes waited for Hermione. His willingness to wait for the person whom he loves and remaining faithful is a great way to close his arc. The comedic aspect, of course, comes in when Camillo and Paulina are engaged, but it still has a “Happily Ever After.” In a modern context, we are willing to believe that love can cause us to go mad, and turn on others. If there was ever anywhere where the phrase “All’s Fair in Love and War” was apparent, it would be in this play.