The Winter of Our Discontent Examples

The Winter of Our Discontent

The line, "the winter of our discontent," comes from William Shakespeare's plan Richard III. It is actually the very first line in the play, and here is the line in context.

Examples of The Winter of Our Discontent:

Now is the winter of our discontent
Made glorious summer by this sun of York;
And all the clouds that lour'd upon our house
In the deep bosom of the ocean buried.
Now are our brows bound with victorious wreaths;
Our bruised arms hung up for monuments;
Our stern alarums changed to merry meetings,
Our dreadful marches to delightful measures.
Grim-visaged war hath smooth'd his wrinkled front;
And now, instead of mounting barbed steeds
To fright the souls of fearful adversaries,
He capers nimbly in a lady's chamber
To the lascivious pleasing of a lute.
But I, that am not shaped for sportive tricks,
Nor made to court an amorous looking-glass;
I, that am rudely stamp'd, and want love's majesty
To strut before a wanton ambling nymph;
I, that am curtail'd of this fair proportion,
Cheated of feature by dissembling nature,
Deformed, unfinish'd, sent before my time
Into this breathing world, scarce half made up,
And that so lamely and unfashionable
That dogs bark at me as I halt by them;
Why, I, in this weak piping time of peace,
Have no delight to pass away the time,
Unless to spy my shadow in the sun
And descant on mine own deformity:

In Richard III, Richard's family (the house of York) has been out of power, but when the play opens, Richard's brother Edward is on the throne. Shakespeare has used the words "winter of our discontent" to refer to the time when the family was not on the throne. As the play opens the "winter of discontent" has been "made a glorious summer by this sun of York." Sun is wordplay for "son," as Edward is a son of the house of York.

The speech goes on to show Richard in a negative light when compared with his brother Edward, which gives the reader the impression that Richard's "discontent" is not actually over.

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