This article examines The Winter's Tale in the legal-political context of the first decade of the seventeenth century. legal writings and in charactery, the epithet "oracle" was used to distinguish a legal-political type, the legal expert and wise counselor whose authority was established through specific deliberative and self-fashioning practices. In The Winter's Tale, I argue, Apollo's supernatural oracle evokes these same human judicial figures, or oracles of the law, and the trial scene thereby refracts early seventeenth-century tensions between the judiciary and the sovereign. While Apollo's oracle makes a minor appearance in the form of its pronouncement, nevertheless its judicial presence is extended throughout the play via the characters who act as its proxies, Paulina and Camillo.


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pp. 557-584
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