"The Paradox of Forgiveness in Shakespeare's 'The Winter's Tale'"
Thu, October 22, 2009 • 6:30 PM - 8:00 PM • Thompson Conference Center
An Odyssey Course event with Hannah Chapelle Wojciehowski
Shakespeare's The Winter's Tale is a story of love gone catastrophically wrong. Leontes, a madly jealous king, wreaks havoc on his marriage and family, his friendships and his court, and his kingdom. The playwright sets up this extreme conflict as a means of exploring the dynamics of reconciliation and forgiveness. We will focus on the play's final scene, one of the most improbable and spellbinding that Shakespeare ever wrote, in order to contemplate the questions that Shakespeare seems to ask: is forgiveness possible? If so, what are the conditions for its enactment? How does it work? We shall attempt to answer these questions with a little help from the German reformer Martin Luther and from French philosopher Jacques Derrida.
Recommended reading: William Shakespeare, The Winter's Tale
HANNAH CHAPELLE WOJCIEHOWSKI is Associate Professor of English and the author of Old Masters, New Subjects: Early Modern and Poststructuralist Theories of Will (Stanford). She has recently finished a new book entitled The Collective Unbound: Transculturation and Its Metaphors in the Renaissance.
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