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Now is the winter of our discontent made glorious summer

Posted by Smokey Stover on June 19, 2005

In Reply to: Now is the winter of our discontent made glorious summer posted by Bob on June 19, 2005

: : Hello,
: : Just wanted to ask, I was looking for the phrase 'Now is the winter of our discontent' 'cause of an assignment I had to do for school.
: : In the site it said "The time of unhappiness is past". Thing is, where I've read it the meaning was more like 'The time of unhappiness is ahead/now'.
: : That also sounded a bit more reasonable to me since it says 'now is the winter', as in 'now is a hard time (like the hard European winter)'...
: : So basicly my questions are:
: : Did the use I saw in the article (in school) was wrong, or is it another possbile use for the quote?
: : Can anyone give me an example of how the quote can be used properly?
: : Thanks in advance :)

: I understand your confusion. The explanation should probably have included the rest of the sentence. "Now is the winter of our discontent made glorious summer by this son of York." Richard the Third opens the play by talking about opportunity. You might see it more clearly if we rearrange the words a bit: the winter of our discontent (is now) made glorious summer. Not that we should rewrite Shakespeare, but it's also clearer when an actor reads it.

Bob is truly a man for all seasons. Shakespeare's use of metaphors and old-fashion verb forms is striking in this passage. The phrase "is now made summer" in Richard's sentence is nowadays more likely to be rendered, "has become summer." He uses winter as a metaphor for discontent because of his frosty or chilly mood, so summer naturally becomes a metaphor for the sunny mood brought to him by this son of York. Many people have seized upon the initial phrase to indicate some unhappiness associated with an actual winter, the present one, whichever one that may be. SS

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