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Quote #7But O, the noblecombat that 'twixt joy and sorrow was fought inPaulina! She had one eye declined for the loss ofher husband, another elevated that the oracle wasfulfilled: she lifted the princess from the earth,and so locks her in embracing, as if she would pinher to her heart that she might no more be in dangerof losing. (5.2.4)Perdita’s arrival in Sicily is a bitter sweet moment for Paulina. On the one hand, she’s elated to see her friendHermione’s long lost daughter. On the other hand, Perdita’s recovery reminds her that her own husband, Antigonus, remains lost.Compassion and Forgiveness
Quote #8LEONTESO, she's warm!If this be magic, let it be an artLawful as eating.POLIXENESShe embraces him.CAMILLOShe hangs about his neck:If she pertain to life let her speak too. (5.3.13)When Hermione is reunited with Leontes, it seems that she has already forgiven him for his sins against her. She “embraces him” and “hangs about his neck” as though he’s not the man responsible for sixteen years of suffering. What’s up with that?Compassion and Forgiveness
Quote #9You gods look downAnd from your sacred vials pour your gracesUpon my daughter's head! Tell me, mine own.Where hast thou been preserved? where lived? how foundThy father's court? for thou shalt hear that I,Knowing by Paulina that the oracleGave hope thou wast in being, have preservedMyself to see the issue. (5.3.1)Is Hermione’s “resurrection” the result of Perdita’s arrival in Sicily?
Quote #10O, peace, Paulina!Thou shouldst a husband take by my consent,As I by thine a wife: this is a match,And made between's by vows. (5.3.14)In the play’s final scene, sixteen long years of sufferingat the Sicilian court give way to the joyous and miraculous reunion of Leontes's family, the seeming resurrection of Hermione, the renewal of Leontes's friendship with Polixenes, and the union of Florizel and Perdita, which takes care of the whole Sicily-is-without-an-heir problem. Here, even Paulina gets engaged to Camillo in a moment that renews domestic and social order.
THEMES SUMMARYTHE WINTER’S TALE THEME OF JEALOUSYThe first three acts of The Winter’s Taleare a study of jealousyand its destructive effects. In the play, Leontes’s sudden and unfounded fear that his pregnant wife is sleeping with his best friend eats away at him like a disease. Leontes’s wild jealousy is often compared to that of Othello. Both men unfairly suspecttheir wives of infidelity and their violent responses destroy their families and upset the political balance. The differences, however, are significant. Unlike Othello, Leontes convinces
himself of his wife’s “affair” all by himself – there’s no Iago figure whispering in his ear and goading him along. (If anything, Leontes is his own Iago.) More importantly, Leontes’sabuse of his family is not entirely permanent, unlike Othello’s. After repenting and suffering for sixteen long years, Leontes is reunited with his wife and long-lost daughter, which puts a redemptive spin on The Winter’s Tale, whereas Othellois just plain tragic.