Table of Contents Table of Contents
Previous Page  2 / 148 Next Page
Show Menu
Previous Page 2 / 148 Next Page
Page Background






public order and the minds of the men who control it,

restoring circulation in both to a state of health.

On the one hand, Paulina’s words, which operate

both magically and therapeutically, turn King

Leontes’s diseased speech into what sounds like

repentance. On the other hand, the marble-like statue

of his queen, Hermione, who has supposedly been

dead ever since the trial at which her husband

accused her of adultery, is “reanimated” by Paulina’s

magical utterance. Here we have the traditional

midwife enabling a symbolic rebirth in the final scene

of the play, which again suggests the restoration of a

healthy public order, or in alchemical and Paracelsian

terms, the refinement or transmutation of lead/death

into gold/life.

Key Words:

The Winter’s Tale

, woman healers,

midwifery, Paracelsus, sixteenth-century