The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 20.0455 Monday, 24 August 2009
From: David Lindley <
Date: Monday, 24 Aug 2009 10:16:43 +0100
Subject: The Ending of the Winter's Tale
Evelyn Gajowski says that: 'My favorite comment on A Winter's Tale is
Adrian Kiernander's (on SHAKSPER), who labels the idea of Hermione's
(silent) reconciliation with Leontes in the final scene "a heterosexual
male fantasy of forgiveness"
I find this to be a somewhat churlish, grudging and limited view of the
ending of this play. Silence in the text does not, of course, mean
something unaffecting on the stage -- it depends how it is played. Yes,
the play is about the 'fantasy' or the wish, or the desperate desire
that time might be redeemed, that error and terrible wrongs might be
expiated, that we might replay the past. But I would have thought that
the 'fantasy' is neither exclusively male, nor exclusively heterosexual,
but rather a desire that all of us might share.
This line is, of course, consistent with that of a number of critics in
the past twenty years who have wished to diminish, or to deny the effect
of what, surely, is one of the most theatrically powerful and moving
scenes in the whole of Shakespeare -- I can even see why,
intellectually, it has some force. But put me in a theatre, with even a
half-decent performance, and it just isn't true to the emotional
experience that I and most of any audience, male or female, will have.
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