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PlayShakespeare.com: The Ultimate Free Shakespeare Resource
PlayShakespeare.com: The Ultimate Free Shakespeare Resource

The Winter's Tale Characters

Paulina is Antigonus’s wife. She is an authoritative, upstanding, courageous and highly moral woman willing to risk her life for what she believes is right. 

She is willing to defy convention when need be, and rejects the idea that her husband can command her in an unethical manner. Unlike all the men at Leontes’s court, she does not beg in Hermione’s favor, but challenges the king to his face, forcing her way into his presence with his newborn child. Rather than swear on her life that the Queen is good, Paulina simply states that Hermione is, dares Leontes to have her burnt, and calls him a tyrant. After Hermione’s death, Leontes keeps her by his side as a constant reminder of what he has done; she keeps him from forgetting, as well as from marrying again. She insists on Hermione’s superiority to any woman mentioned, and rebukes Leontes for taking an appreciative look at Perdita. She orchestrates Hermione’s resurrection; and either has miraculous powers, or has been keeping Hermione hidden for sixteen years in a small house she owns that she visits two or three times a day. Whichever is the case, she considers her life’s work to be done thereafter, but Leontes grants her a new lease on life by convincing her to marry Camillo.

 

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