| Quote #10
Even after Leontes repents for causing the death of his wife and son, it seems like Paulina goes out of her way to constantly remind Leontes of what he’s done. After a lord chastises her for reminding Leontes that Hermione is dead, Paulina says something like, “Oh gosh! I’m so sorry. Please forgive me for being such a foolish and big-mouthed woman. I didn’t mean to remind you that you basically killed your wife and both your kids.” Is she serious? We don’t think so. We think she’s being sarcastic, especially given that Leontes has made such a big deal about mouthy women throughout the first two acts of the play. What’s more, Paulina’s mock apology seems like another excuse to torture Leontes by reminding him, again, that he’s caused the deaths of his family members. That said, we’ve seen some actresses play this scene straight, so one could make the case that Paulina’s sincerely sorry about being such a “foolish woman.” In other words, while Polixenes and Hermione are engaging in friendly banter, there’s a very dark subtext to be found in their conversation.