The Winter’s Tale Compassion and Forgiveness Quotes
How we cite our quotes: Citations follow this format: (Act.Scene.Line). Line numbers correspond to the Norton edition.
But O, the noble
combat that 'twixt joy and sorrow was fought in
Paulina! She had one eye declined for the loss of
her husband, another elevated that the oracle was
fulfilled: she lifted the princess from the earth,
and so locks her in embracing, as if she would pin
her to her heart that she might no more be in danger
of losing. (5.2.4)
Perdita’s arrival in Sicily is a bitter sweet moment for Paulina. On the one hand, she’s elated to see her friend Hermione’s long lost daughter. On the other hand, Perdita’s recovery reminds her that her own husband, Antigonus, remains lost.
O, she's warm!
If this be magic, let it be an art
Lawful as eating.
She embraces him.
She hangs about his neck:
If she pertain to life let her speak too. (5.3.13)
When Hermione is reunited with Leontes, it seems that she has already forgiven him for his sins against her. She “embraces him” and “hangs about his neck” as though he’s not the man responsible for sixteen years of suffering. What’s up with that?
You gods, look down
And from your sacred vials pour your graces
Upon my daughter's head! Tell me, mine own.
Where hast thou been preserved? where lived? how found
Thy father's court? for thou shalt hear that I,
Knowing by Paulina that the oracle
Gave hope thou wast in being, have preserved
Myself to see the issue. (5.3.1)
Is Hermione’s “resurrection” the result of Perdita’s arrival in Sicily?