The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 21.0283  Thursday, 15 July 2010

From:         Paul Swanson <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:         July 12, 2010 10:52:52 PM EDT
Subject:      Hermione?


I am wondering about the conclusion of "The Winter's Tale" and how we are to 
interpret Hermione's lone remarks in the closing scene. During her one short 
speech in 5.3, she asks the gods for a blessing on her daughter and asks Perdita 
how she has come to be found. She does not address or reference Leontes at all, 
giving no hint as to whether she feels as joyful about reuniting with her 
husband as she does her daughter.

This silence in victimized women is something Shakespeare has used before. 
Perhaps most famously, Isabella says nothing after the Duke's proposal in 
"Measure," and we never definitively hear whether "Much Ado's" Hero has entirely 
forgiven Claudio, who slanders her into a seclusion and a faked death before 
heading off to marry her at the play's close.

Thus, I am wondering if the play really ends with the reconciliation we commonly 
think it does. I am seeing the Stratford Festival's production in about two 
weeks and am eager to see if they do anything with the reconciliation scene. Has 
anyone ever seen a production where Herimone is shown to harbor anger against 
Leontes as the play ends? I've seen about six productions of the play, and in 
each one, Hermione's feelings were left undisclosed.

Any thoughts?

All the best,
Paul Swanson
Mount Vernon, Indiana

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