MODEL ESSAY ON SHAKESPEARE’S WINTER’S TALE
PAYING CLOSE ATTENTION TO LANGUAGE AND TONE, CONSIDER SHAKESPEARE’S PRESENTATION OF CAMILLO AND FLORIZEL IN THE PASSAGE ABOVE.
CAMILLO Gracious my lord,
You know your father’s temper. At this time
He will allow no speech – which I do guess,
You do not purpose to him – and as hardly
Will he endure your sight as yet, I fear.
Then till the fury of his highness settle
Come not before him.
FLORIZEL I not purpose it.
I think Camillo?
CAMILLO Even he, my lord.
How often have I told you ‘twould be thus!
How often said my dignity would last
But till ‘twere known!
FLORIZEL It cannot fail but by
The violation of my faith; and then
Let Nature crush the sides o ‘th’earth together
And mar the seeds within! Lift up thy looks.
From my succession wipe me, father, I
Am heir to my affection.
CAMILLO Be advised
So call it, but is does fulfil my vow:
I needs must think it honesty. Camillo,
Not for Bohemia, nor the pomp that may
Be thereat gleaned; for all the sun sees or
The close earth wombs or the profound seas hides
In unknown fathoms, will I break my oath
To this my fair beloved. Therefore, I pray you,
As you’ve e’er been my father’s honoured friend,
When he shall miss me - as, in faith, I mean not
To see him any more - cast your good counsels
Upon his passion. Let myself and Fortune
Tug for the time to come. This you may know,
And so deliver; I am put to sea
With her who here I cannot hold on shore;
And most opportune to our need I have
A vessel rides fast by, but not prepared
For this design. What course I mean to hold
Shall nothing benefit your knowledge, nor
Concern me the reporting.
CARMILLO O my lord,
I would your spirit were easier for advice,
Or stronger for your need.
FLORIZEL Hark, Perdita –
(to Camillo) I’ll hear you by and by.
He draws Perdita aside
CAMILLO He’s irremovable,
Resolved for flight. Now were I happy if
His going I could frame to serve my turn,
Save him from danger, do him love and honour,
Purchase the sight again of dear Sicilia
And that unhappy king my master, whom
I so much thirst to see.
FLORIZEL Now, good Camillo,
I am so fraught with curious business that
I leave out ceremony.
CAMILLO Sir, I think
You have heard of my poor services I’ th’ love
That I have borne your father?
This extract is an aftermath of the Polixenes discovering the identity of his son’s lover in Perdita, which he roundly stands against because of her humble background. The king’s trusted friend and adviser, Camillo however remains behind to give a listening ear to Florizel as he laments his plight. The language and tone are quite instructive in giving a vivid impression of Camillo and Florizel at this point in the play.
Camillo’s closeness to Polixenes has always been enhanced by his good and sound piece of advice.Camillo attests to this in the extract, from the manner he shows his closeness and understanding of the man her serves both as king and friend. He tends to present a situation where he appears to even know more about the king than even the son.Camillo is also able to study Florizel at the moment and could see that all he needs now is to be calmed down. He could see clearly that ‘‘He ‘s irremovable, Resolved to flight’’.This is also complemented by Camillo’s sense of sound counseling, which he gives to Florizel that he gives his father some time so as not to further infuriate him.
Camillo’s sense of maturity is also displayed in that in the first part of the extract, he only offers calming statements not to aggravate the anger and desperation of young Florizel, who goes into ranting. Camillo’s tone is placating and the calming statements appear to work as could be seen that later, Florizel begins to want to listen to Camillo.This trait is probably what the king lacks as he storms in the before this scene threatening to disown his only son.
However, towards the end of the extract, Camillo deplores his diplomatic and clever trait in being one of the agents of conflict resolution in the play, by strategizing on how he could employ the situation at hand to achieve reconciliation not only for himself, but for other parties. Thus, he decides to encourage the flight of Florizel to Sicilia to give him Camillo the opportunity to see his land and reconcile with his old king, Polixenes.In his tone and language he never for once condemns all the parties involved in the conflict; the king, or the prince .It is this trait that has always made Camillo a trusted ally and confidant.
Florizel’s use of language and tone in the extract is a contrast to that of the mature and diplomatic Camillo.He displays sheer youth recklessness and rashness and this is reflected in the decision he takes by the end of the extract. This is mostly reflected in his violent language of desperation. To him, ‘’Let nature crush the sides o’th’ earth … and mar the seeds within’’.This impulsiveness is mostly enhanced by his ample use of exclamation marks and short snappy statements. It becomes obvious that Florizel is a man enslaved by his emotions and truly, ‘’heir to my affection’’.
The cause of Florizel’s desperation is nothing but his love for the shepherd’s daughter, Perdita who he has promised to marry and even at the detriment of losing the throne, he feels it is worth it. Florizel appears to be motivated in his action more by a sense of loyalty which he feels he owes Perdita, which his social class should not affect. He says, ‘’but it does fulfill my vow’’. This is further stressed in, ‘’the close earth wombs or the profound seas hides in unknown fathoms, will I break my oath to my fair beloved’’. This positive trait of loyalty and single-mindedness must have been observed by Camillo and he sees a reasonable young man that could be positively influenced.
Camillo could decipher a youth that is receptive to a good advice and he thus seizes this opportunity, because it is obvious Florizel will never change his mind, so the only way open to him is to explore the situation at hand proactively and ‘’save him from danger and do him love and honour’’.Florizel though initially expresses desperation, he later in the extract uses language in such a way that he wants to be advised .That explains why he reveals his plan to Camillo ,knowing that he could trust him and also be given the best of advice. Florizel is probably not stupid to see the possibility of what he is telling Camillo to be divulged to the king.
By the end of the extract, a situation that begins in rancor, rashness ends on a reconciling note. Slowly, Florizel grows to a listening youth who would listen to the counsel of a mature elder.Camillo too is able to leverage on his status as a diplomat and a trusted ally , to prevail on Florizel not only to follow the path of temperament , but to also achieve his own agenda of visiting Sicilia nearby reconcile all the feuding parties.