• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Shakespeare's The Winter's Tale

Extracts from this document...


Christen Hall Shakespeare Dr. Doug Sonheim December 5, 2004 Dear Dr. Sonheim, While we have read Shakespeare's The Winter's Tale together, this time I enjoyed reading it much more. Instead of wondering what would happen, I was able to focus more intently on the characters. Although I remembered her role in unveiling Hermione's statue, I did not really begin to recognize the significance of Paulina's character until I read the play for a second time. Because she does not appear until Act II, scene 2 and is present in only three of the five acts, Paulina seems to be no more than a minor character. Nonetheless, Paulina's action is critical to the plays classification as a tragicomedy, and her depth of character make her a lovely candidate for best-supporting actress. In the first three acts, which constitute the plays tragic storyline, Paulina proves a loyal friend to Hermione and a decided woman. Her first appearance presents her addressing the jailer, who acknowledges that he knows her "[f]or a worthy lady / And one who much I honor" (II, ii, 8-9). ...read more.


After Paulina does not leave when she is told to and Leontes reprimands Antigonus for allowing his wife to behave in such a domineering way, Antigonus confirms his wife's strong-willed nature: "When she will take the rein I let her run / But she'll not stumble" (II, iii, 62-63). Paulina continues expressing her opinion that Leontes is being illogical and unfair despite being threatened with punishments, including burning. Nothing the men say or do can quiet her. She decides on her own when she has finished her reprimand. In Act III, scene 2, Paulina's loyalty is again displayed. Her pain at the loss of her queen is great. She moves quickly from anger to sorrow, proclaiming first that Leontes sins are too great to be forgiven then following the condemnation with an apology. Perhaps Paulina shows greatest sorrow by denouncing her own actions, which brings about a change in character: "Alas, I have showed too much / The rashness of a woman. [...] I beseech you, rather / Let me be punished, that have minded you / Of what you should forget" (III, iii, 244-45, 249-50). ...read more.


Paulina's influence is most important in the final scene of the play. In fact, although Perdita returns, if Paulina does not call Hermione's statue to life, the tragic nature of the play would loom. Since Hermione's mistreatment and death is the focus of much of the play, she must be present in the end. The play's ending is comedic, of course, as the characters seem to live happily ever after. Mamillius does not have to be resurrected as both kingdoms have an heir in the much-in-love Perdita and Florizell, Polixenes and Leontes have restored their friendship, Hermione has been resurrected to live with her king, and Paulina is betrothed to Camillo. While Paulina is provided a companion, Leontes's choosing her a husband seems an antithesis to Paulina's strong female character. Until this point, she has been a feminine voice directing the patriarch, but she is suddenly willing to submit. Perhaps her decided nature is only an aspect of her loyalty to Hermione, but I (although I am a hopeless romantic) am personally a bit disappointed in this unquestioned marriage. I probably would have been more pleased if Antigonus returned as well, but I am not that enthralled with Camillo's taking Paulina's hand. Oh well, I suppose most women are weak when it comes to love. Sincerely, Christen Hall ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE The Winters Tale section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related GCSE The Winters Tale essays

  1. How are women represented in "The Winter's Tale"? How might a modern audience react ...

    However, when Hermione is revealed as being alive at the end of the play, it is unclear as to whether or not she was alive all along or if the statue was brought back to life by Leontes. If she was alive all along, the audience might feel that Paulina

  2. Explore the role of women in 'The Winters Tale'

    We also see how Antigonous is unable to control his wife "I told her so, she should not visit you", showing how Paulina is very strong minded, nobody is going to stop her do or say what she wants. Paulina is not civil towards Leontes, in fact she is quite sarcastic.

  1. How does Shakespeare present relationships between men and women in The Winter's Tale, ...

    chaste, since my desires / Run not before mine honour, nor my lusts / Burn hotter than my faith.' Class is a vital component in their relationship, but a modern audience accepts their relationship without this as a major consideration.

  2. "Shakespeare presents the character of Paulina as nothing more than an interfering and ...

    Indeed, it is Paulina to whom Leontes confesses his guilt, and vows to make amends. In spite of all this, there is evidence of rash actions, not reasonably thought out on the part of Paulina. After describing Leontes as ill, and stating her thoughts on his mental state, it was surely unwise to leave the baby Perdita with him.

  1. How does Shakespeare present the role of women in the play "The Winter's Tale"

    The same goes for Paulina who keeps her composure when talking about her dead husband Antigonus, whereas Leontes breaks down after the trial and cannot contain himself. The way he deals with his jealous urges shows how emotionally immature he is, and cannot deal with it reasonably by confrontation.

  2. "The Winter's Tale" written by William Shakespeare.

    He also accuses the shepherd of having offended him through Perdita. Camillo convinces Florizel to flee with Perdita to Sicilia. He gives money to Autolycus, a rogue, so that he exchanges garments with Florizel . So disguised, Perdita and Florizel have for Sicilia.

  1. "The Winters Tale is not so much about the triumph of time but the ...

    my young play-fellow" (Act I Scene II - Line 78 - 81 / Polixenes) Thus suggesting that there was a sense of guilt that came with male sexuality and furthermore females were to be blamed for intruding on male innocence This opinion is age old, embodied by the Adam and Eve myth.

  2. It has been said that in "The Winter's Tale" Shakespeare dramatises the contemporary struggle ...

    an adultress he is reduced to insulting Paulina calling her "Dame Partlet", "Callat", Lozel" and "hag." This would have brought a different reaction to a modern audience, from the Jacobean one, who would have considered it an outrage that a woman would have questioned a man, let alone a king, who had been 'chosen by God'.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work