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22

E

UR

A

MERICA

Here, other than their homeopathic practice, there is one

other link between Paulina and Paracelsus, the Swiss-German

medical empiricist known for his alchemical medicine in the

sixteen century Europe, also the father of modern medicine

(chemotherapy): their daring and bold pronunciation in

challenging their authority for the sake of a better remedy.

Paracelsus, according to David F. Hoeniger (1992: 118), “is

the first strong voice in European medicine to advocate the

sheer value of direct experience, the need to observe closely

the progress of disease in individual patients, and the

experimentation with new salves and the testing of drugs in

careful dosages.” However, even though Paulina’s author,

Shakespeare, himself probably “had heard of Paracelsian

chemical remedies,” as he “refers to the rival schools ‘both of

Galen and Paracelsus’ in

All’s Well

(2.3.11),” “echoes in

Shakespeare of anything specifically Paracelsian are debatable,

and only a few passages deserve consideration” (Hoeniger,

1992: 124).

Still, Paulina is perhaps a female Paracelsus, one who also

relies on the alchemical principle of pharmacy, of Paracelsian

separation

, as discussed below, that can give birth to the

quintessence, the desired medicine. Paulina believes, as does

Paracelsus, that pharmacy “lies in the knowledge of what is

inside and not in composing and patching up pieces to make

it” (Pagel, 1982: 144). Thus we see that Paulina’s approach is

from the inside, from Leontes’s inner mind, which when it is

isolated/separated for a period of time can be healed. This

fight like with like: “Now, the difference between arcana and medicines is

this, that arcana operate in their own nature, or essence, but medicine in

contrary elements” (Tract II, as cited in Waite, 1926: 38). Paracelsus

explicates: “[Arcana] have the power of transmuting, altering, and restoring

us” (Waite, 1926: 37). It is this thought that led Paracelsus to propose the

homeopathic principle of

similia similibus curentur

: “like cures like.” For

Paracelsus, it is “Morbus arsenicalis”: “Arsenic cures Arsenic, Anthrax

Anthrax, as poison drives out poison” (Pagel, 1982: 146-147).