View Full Version : Paulina - First Impressions

04-26-2005, 10:56 AM
excellent review

05-24-2005, 06:07 PM
In the chaotic aftermath of the first storm of Leontes' jealousy, with Hermione in jail and a pending trail, Paulina can be seen as not only a passionate, confident, eloquent woman, but also the voice of reason and conscience, the harbinger of hope and Hermione's voice.<br><br>Paulina's confidence can easily be seen in the way she sweeps into the prison in act II scene 2. She is much respected and possesses authority, which is recognised by both the gaoler and Emilia, which address her as 'worthy lady' and 'worthy madam' respectively. <br><br>There is an undercurrent of comic action in the scene, which can be emphasised by the director. Certainly, to a Shakespearean audience, the idea of a gaoler being bullied by a highborn lady has its comic charm. Her presense brings to the play one of the first elements of comedy and with it, hope. <br><br>Paulina thinks and acts swiftly, quickly formulating a plan to soften the heart Leontes involving the newborn baby within a few lines. These plans further the atmosphere of hope in the scene. Paulina is optimistic about the truth winning in the end. Her simple view of things is reflected in her simple solution and almost overconfident 'let it not be doubted/ I shall do good.'<br><br>'Your honour and your goodness is so evident<br>That your free undertaking cannot miss<br>A thriving issue,' (II,2,43-5)<br>In the above lines, Emilia praises Paulina, establishing her as an honourable and good lady. Her confidence in Paulina's skills of persuasion furthers the idea that Paulina is also reliable and eloquent enough to persuade Leontes about the matter.<br><br>Her audacity shown in scene 3 where she forces in to see Leontes, despite the First Lord's protests of 'you must not enter.' Paulina describes herself as possessing a 'boldness from my bosom' and Leontes describes her as an 'audacious lady.' Paulina's daring is best illustrated by her reply of 'I care not' to Leontes's threat to 'ha' thee burnt.' <br><br>Paulina’s husband, Antigonus, twice compares her to a horse in act II. Firstly in scene 1 with the lines 134-5<br>'I'll keep my stables where<br>I lodge my wife.'<br>and then again in scene 3, line 49-50:<br>'When she will take the rein I let her run;<br>But she'll not stumble.'<br>The horse is a symbol of recklessness and strength. Antigonus' claim that 'she'll not stumble' shows his trust in her better judgement. It is also a very masculine symbol. Paulina's wish defend Hermione by trial of combat professed in her words 'and would by combat make her good' and her promises to stand 'betwixt' the gaoler and danger in scene 2 highlights this masculine, protective side to her character. <br><br>Again, scene 3 has potential for dark humour in the way a woman can break all social rules and 'storm' into court, depending on the interpretation of the actors. Puns, like 'bait' and 'beat' in lines 91-2, is present and Paulina's barbed comment hoping jealousy wasn't hereditary, else the baby will suspect 'her children are not her husband's' in line 107. <br><br>Paulina speaks in blank verse, as a sign of her highborn educated status and her eloquence. Verse, in Shakespeare's day, is also seen as the words of the heart, rather than the mind. This applies in the case of Paulina's most passionate arguements. <br><br>In act II scene 3, Paulina plays the voice of conscience, reasoning to Leontes. His refusal to speak directly to Paulina can be taken as a reflection of his refusal to see the truth. She is a foil to Leontes and his maddness. Her arguments are sound and logical, neither does she use a lot of imagery greatly contrasting Leontes' much more irrational lines, full of insults and threats. Her lines, like Leontes, are heavily punctuated, but unlike Leontes, it doesn't show mental imbalance, but an assertive tone. <br><br>Paulina's eloquence can be seen in the ways she argues. Even in the height of her fury in act II scene 3, she never becomes unresonable. Each word is spoken with purpose. She uses the baby as evidence, in lines 97-104, she lists the baby Perdita's features, stating the similarities between them and Leontes'. Paulina tries appealing to Leontes' pride, stating that his actions 'savours of tyranny and will ignoble make you.' She also uses repetition of 'good queen' in lines 57-8 hammer in the idea of Hermione's goodess. <br><br>When she first enters in lines 54-5, Paulina calls herself many things<br>'Myself your loyal servant, your physician,<br>Your most obedient counsellor...'<br>Indeed, in the acts that follow, Paulina will prove to be all three. Leontes heeds only her advice in act V. Paulina's hiding of Hermione and her daily reminder of his errs and does 'cure' him of his jealousy, as her unveiling of Hermione 'cures' him of his sorrow. <br><br>Paulina advances the imagery of jealousy as a sickness by claiming to 'come with words as medicinal as true', which will 'purge him of that humour' as she comes to prove Hermione's innocence and thus cure Leontes of his jealousy. 'Humour' is a term often used by physicians of Shakespeare's day to describe bodily fluids. She also calls herself his 'physician,' but Leonte's declination of her medicine proves he doesn't wish to be cured.<br><br>There is a pride within Paulina. This cannot only be seen in the respect she commands, but also her indignation at being 'pushed' out.<br><br>During After the 'death' of Hermione in act III scene 1, Paulina assumes the role as Hermione's voice. The two female characters are very similar in their eloquence, courage and confidence. In act II, the beginings of that can be seen as Paulina champions Hermione in her absence.