The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 21.0283 Thursday, 15 July 2010
From: Paul Swanson <
Date: July 12, 2010 10:52:52 PM EDT
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.
All the best,
Mount Vernon, Indiana
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