The Winter’s Tale
How we cite our quotes:
Her natural posture!
Chide me, dear stone, that I may say indeed
Thou art Hermione; or rather, thou art she
In thy not chiding, for she was as tender
As infancy and grace. But yet, Paulina,
Hermione was not so much wrinkled, nothing
So aged as this seems.
O, not by much.
So much the more our carver's excellence;
Which lets go by some sixteen years and makes her
As she lived now. (5.3.3)
When Leontes's observes that Hermione’s “statue” looks much older than his dead wife, we’re reminded that sixteen long years have passed since Leontes last saw her, the proof of which is etched on Hermione’s now “wrinkled” skin. Even though Leontes is reunited with his wife (who turns out to be very much alive in the next lines), the play never lets us forget that some things (like Hermione’s youthful appearance and even the dead child, Mammilius) can never be recovered. Time marches forward and can never be reversed.