“Twenty-three days…” The Voyage of Cleomenes and Dion to Delphi (Part 1 of 2)

As promised in my previous post, “What geographical error?” I want to share with you another interesting excerpt from The Shakespeare Guide to Italy: Retracing the Bard’s Unknown Travels that relates to Shakespeare’s romantic play, The Winter’s Tale.

The Winter's Tale, Leontes Nurses Suspicions of His Wife Hermione and Their Visitor Polixenes. Artist: M. Adamo

The Winter’s Tale, Leontes Nurses Suspicions of His Wife Hermione and Their Visitor Polixenes. Artist: M. Adamo

First, let’s set the scene:  Leontes is certain, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that his wife, Hermione, has been unfaithful.

But he’s failed to convince the others in his court who sympathize with their queen.

So, to obtain “a greater confirmation” (2.1.180), Leontes sends two of his lords, Cleomenes and Dion, on a voyage to request spiritual counsel from the Oracle at Delphi.

temple-of-apollo-in-delphi-greece_700x700_q85In Ancient Greece, the Oracle at Delphi acted as a medium between Apollo and humans.  She would channel answers to questions of great importance posed by Greek and foreign dignitaries.

Shakespeare requires that we suspend our disbelief, and imagine the Temple of Apollo as grand as it was in ancient times, rather than the ruins it would have been in the medieval setting of The Winter’s Tale.

lhertzel_1303424945_quill-pen

To be continued…

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