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Character Analysis of Queen Hermione

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Character Analysis Essay: Queen Hermione of Sicilia. Queen Hermione of Sicilia is one of the main characters of Shakespeare's play "The Winter's Tale". She is the wife of King Leontes of Sicilia and mother of Prince Mamillius. Her pregnancy and closeness to Leontes' childhood friend King Polixenes of Bohemia causes her husband to become delusional with jealousy and consequently lock her away where she gives birth to her second child (A girl named Perdita), only to be held in trial and proven innocent by the "oracle". Though still pledged guilty and, eventually is said to be dead after the declaration of her son's sudden death. Which in order lead to the continuous events of the play, her characteristics are quite noticeable even with her lack of presence in the play - the elegance and ground that she appears to hold throughout the scenes she's in seem to appear effect one's opinion of such a character. One's opinion of this particular character intertwines respect and love; for not only does she show femininity and patience, but she aslo represents a royal queen at its finest. Hermione's character can be seen to be an intelligent and graceful one. Her wit and sense of humor can be seen throughout Act 1 - Scene 2, where she is seen to be confident of her husband's love and trust that she jokes around with his own childhood friend King Polixenes of Bohemia, conversing about how she and his own wife are "Temptations" and the people who took away his and King Leontes' innocence. ...read more.


The quote above is quite important to Hermione's character as it shows an enlightened spirit and soul and the heightened grace of the queen she is. It also represents how, even though not denying her guilt, she insists on being innocent, willing herself to let Leontes think as he wish as she knows him well, knowing that he, the tyrant person he is, will not accept anything that differs from his own word, as her well-known speech in her later trial introduction begins with: "Since what I am to say must be but that Which contradicts my accusation." Accompanying her imprisonment, she gives birth to her baby girl, Perdita and is forced into trial while still trying to recover from her recent labor. The idea of a queen being shattered into prison, giving birth and walking while she still is fresh from labor would strike many of the married mothers' hearts in an audience, as they'd know what she'd went through or worse, and her strong will to prove her innocence seems much more important than her physical state - which emphasizes her strong willed spirit. In response to Leontes' delusional accusations, she appeals to her previous conduct and behavior, the well-known evidence of her blameless life and purity. She argues her points with her wit and skill, comparing her current state with her former luxury: "You, my lord, best know, Who least will seem to do so, my past life Hath been as continent, as chaste, as true, As I am now unhappy; which is more Than history can pattern." ...read more.


Hermione in the play is practically the symbol of innocence and unconditional love for others. She shows a selfless person and a good queen in one and can be called a very saintly person. Her combination of characteristics bring the audience to love and respect her much further because not only does she have those qualities, she seems very realistic during her acts and scenes. One could argue that Hermione gave birth to a baby girl is to have her mannerisms and actions reflected and rooted in Perdita. Her mother's patience and will to please others more than herself is quite seen during the play and can be said to be almost as if it was reborn in the Princess. This gives off a good memory for the audience to remind them of virtuous Queen Hermione. Overall, and to conclude, Queen Hermione is the symbol of femininity for the Shakespearean era, where a woman knew her place and standing. In addition she would also remember to remain pure and obedient, but still could be able to think for herself become the best she could be - An honest, straight forward woman. One could say that Hermione even though seemingly passive and very obedient, can be twisting and pressuring others in a very subtle way to do as she wills, her way of words can be known as a very persuasive way of stating opinions, facts and basically bring out her female "powers" in what might seem to get things done to her favor. ...read more.

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