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“There is no tongue that moves”




However, although the present study is also

concerned with female voice,




, it focuses

on the ways in which woman’s rhetoric can be beneficial, even

curative (i.e. for human relationships), and thus can be seen as

a sort of magical medicine

just as Shakespeare associates

Paulina’s power of words with her power of healing.


This mysterious feminine power of speech is clearly

linked to other ancient, mythical male perceptions of women’s

power, most obviously the magic power of fearful, witch-like

figures like Medusa or the Theban Sphinx,


a power which

threatens men as individuals and also threatens the whole

“male order” of society. Leontes’s judgment here is as

incomprehensible to his wife, the faithful listener, as his

language, and yet this court scene, featuring the accusation of a

female subordinate by a male authority, is all too familiar in


My approach differs in several respects, though we both focus on the use of

“female speech” in Hermione’s trial scene and Paulina’s final resurrection of

the queen. However, while Enterline interprets Pauline’s “lie” in terms of



of language

particularly female and theatrical language


relation to the fugitive truth of the female body and the ‘old tale’ it tells”

(2000: 215)

I view it as a necessary strategy for a woman disturbed by the

force of male dominance and wishing to ensure the completion of a healing

process. Other essays discussing female rhetoric and the effects of language

include: Huston Diehl’s “‘Does not the stone rebuke me?’: The Pauline

Rebuke and Paulina’s Lawful Magic in

The Winter’s Tale

” (2008), which

looks at the theme of “mingling” by associating Paulina with the Biblical Paul

and the power of speech/rebuke; and Michael Taylor’s “Shakespeare’s ‘The

Winter’s Tale’: Speaking in the Freedom of Knowledge” (1972) which shows

how mature speakers like Hermione, Paulina, and Perdita can freely express

their knowledge, unlike the early Leontes and Polixenes, for whom

remaining “in perverse innocence” “is a sin” (1972: 51) that infects



Though Patricia S. Gourlay’s “’O my most sacred lady’: Female Metaphor in

The Winter’s Tale

” (1975) also emphasizes the healing magic of the females

in the play, my analysis centers more on Paulina as a female Paracelsian

medical practitioner.


The latter, whose riddle Oedipus solved, is a hybrid creature: serpent-and-

bird with a woman’s face.