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The Winter’s Tale Act 2, Scene 2 Summary

  • Paulina (Antigonus’s wife and a good friend of Hermione) shows up at the prison where Hermione is being held and demands to see the queen.
  • The Jailer says gee, he feels really bad and all, but he’s got strict orders that Hermione is to have no visitors.
  • Fine, says Paulina, who asks to see Emilia, one of Hermione’s ladies, instead.
  • Emilia and Paulina talk while the Jailer stands guard. Emilia informs Paulina that Hermione is doing the best she can, under the lousy circumstances, but she went into labor before her due date and delivered a daughter in prison.
  • Paulina is outraged – she proclaims Leontes a lunatic and says she’s going to try to talk some sense into him. Maybe if she shows Leontes his newborn baby, the evidence of Hermione’s innocence will convince him that Hermione is a faithful wife.
  • Emilia says that if anyone can convince Leontes, it’s Paulina who, apparently, has a way with words.
  • The Jailer seems on board with this scheme, but since he’s not allowed to let the baby leave the prison, he wants to know how the heck Paulina is going to smuggle the infant out of Hermione’s cell.
  • Paulina convinces the Jailer that Hermione’s baby should be allowed to leave the prison with her, since, being a newborn baby and all, it’s completely innocent of any wrong-doing.

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