So, in my defense, I had been considering doing a casting call (choosing out actors to play certain characters in the plays we read) before Professor Burton recommended it. The reason is because frequently my wife and I will read a story and then look online for casting calls to see if other peoples imaginations match up with ours. (Favorite so far is a Wheel of Time casting call - http://atreacherousmemory.wordpress.com/wheel-of-time-casting-call/)
So who would I cast for Winters Tale? Daniel Radcliff for Polixenes, Rupert Grint for Leontes, and Emma Watson for Hermione...I was thinking of the Evil Romanticized Ideal and where we see it in pop-culture and our lives, and suddenly I remembered Harry Potter Part 1. Ron freaks out at Hermione and Harry because he thinks that Hermione would rather be with Harry.
Please view exhibit A
A similar scene could easily be portrayed in Winter's Tale. Polixenes is the golden boy who everyone loves. He rules over Bohemia which is tens times more fun than Sicilia. Hermione could easily be forgiven for choosing him over Leontes, who is not nearly as amazing as Polixenes, but is a redhead to boot. Throw a an evil, soul-stealing horcrux into the mix and who wouldn't suspect your friends of betraying you.
I guess what I'm getting at is that these story lines and elements that Shakespeare used 400 years ago are still cropping up today. The reason is he's understanding of the human psyche. He knows how people act, think, and feel. (He frequently condemns people for refusing the acknowledge their flaws and weaknesses. He doesn't condemn their weakness, just how they act and their refusal to admit that they're weak, but I don't want to steal Kara's future thunder/epiphany, so I'll stop there)
I guess what I'm saying is that Shakespeare is still around because he got it right. In fact, he got it right over and over again, which is why we still study him even after 400 years. I wonder if we'll still study him during the millennium...