Abstract

This essay queries and extends Stanley Cavell’s reading of Shakespeare’s The Winter’s Tale by a close investigation of the character and language of Hermione. Far from being merely a passive victim of Leontes’s madness (or, in Cavellian terms, “skepticism”), I argue, Hermione is an active contributor to the disintegration of their relationship by “sophistically” refusing to distinguish between language as conversation and language as mere play. The play’s conspicuously metatheatrical engagement with Hermione’s (as Leontes’s) repudiation of vulnerability shows that the threat of “theatricalization” or sophism cannot (as Cavell or Rush Rhees might wish) simply be excised but must be integrated in ordinary relationships.

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Additional Information

ISSN
1086-329X
Print ISSN
0190-0013
Pages
pp. A83-A105
Launched on MUSE
2016-03-23
Open Access
No
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