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“There is no tongue that moves”


Paulina also invites Leontes to fully accept his newborn wife,

for denying her would be like killing her a second time, while

such acceptance would connote that the king’s heart has been

entirely purified, and harbors no more feelings of envy or



Do not shun her

Until you see her die again, for then

You kill her double. Nay, present your hand.


The king’s willing hand prompts the queen’s two hands to

make a circle to embrace him, a circle symbolizing reunion and

reconciliation. Thus the king is fully healed by touching the

queen whom had (he thought) been stone, just as in alchemical

medicine it is essential to have, in order to completely heal or

cure someone, a


or Philosopher’s Stone. Paracelsus

explains that “


, the last arcanum, is like the



bisexual creature

which transmutes silver and other metals

into gold; it “tinges,” i.e., it transforms the body, removing its

harmful parts, its crudity, its incompleteness, and transforms

everything into a pure, noble, and indestructible being” (1958:

148). Hermione’s (re)birth is not fully completed, however,

until her daughter, the lost Perdita, is found, for only then can

she fully recover her own voice and language.

The animation of the “stone statue,” which means the

beginning of Hermione’s (re)birth, begins with a deception,

that of the queen’s death. Indeed all magical acts and plays

depend on deception in order to make the impossible possible,

in this case to make the king once again completely love and

trust his queen and she him. More generally, deception allows

the power of women to be recognized and accepted, not as an

evil or witch’s power which gives rise to male anxiety, but as a

loving, healing power, a holy power. Deception is perhaps the

only choice for female healers when their freedom to heal