The Winter's Tale
Originally classified as a comedy, The Winter's Tale is now generally considered a romance by Shakespeare historians. The story of the play is taken from Robert Greene's Pleasant History of Dorastus and Fawnia, which was published in 1588. It consists of two highly contrasted halves, the first mostly tragic, the second almost purely comedic. William Watkiss Lloyd writes, "Such a division in the abstract appears like an experiment and a dangerous one; it is rare, if not unprecedented in any art, to find an effective whole resulting from the blank opposition of two precisely counter-balanced halves when not united by common reference to some third magnitude ... but it holds on without crack or fracture to the perfect and rounded conclusion." In spite of its eccentric nature, The Winter's Tale has remained popular with audiences for many years and is often revived by leading theatre practitioners.