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Shakespeare's Characters: Paulina (The Winter's Tale)

From The Works of William Shakespeare. Vol. 12. Ed. Evangeline Maria O'Connor. J.D. Morris and Co.

Among Shakespeare's additions in the first part of the play we find the characters of the noble and resolute Paulina and her weakly good-natured husband. Paulina . . . is one of the most admirable and original figures he has put upon the stage. She has more courage than ten men, and possesses that natural eloquence and power of pathos which determined honesty and sound common sense can bestow upon a woman. She would go through fire and water for the queen whom she loves and trusts. She is untouched by sentimentality; there is as little of the erotic as there is of repugnance in her attitude towards her husband. Her treatment of the king's jealous frenzy reminds us of Emilia in Othello, but the resemblance ends there. In Paulina there is a vein of that rare metal which we only find in excellent women of this not essentially feminine type. We meet it again in the nineteenth century in the character of Christiana Oehlenschlager as we see it in Hauch's beautiful commemorative poem.
Brandes: William Shakespeare.


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