Homework Help

By the end of act 2,the audience are filled with sorrow and respect for hermione,how...

user profile pic

adioe | Student, Grade 10 | eNotes Newbie

Posted October 18, 2010 at 8:18 PM via web

dislike 1 like

By the end of act 2,the audience are filled with sorrow and respect for hermione,how does shakespeare achieve this?

Please answer this as soon as possible,its due tomorrow and im finding it difficult to answer it

2 Answers | Add Yours

user profile pic

shaketeach | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Associate Educator

Posted October 18, 2010 at 10:38 PM (Answer #1)

dislike 1 like

It is not difficult to feel sympathy for Hermione with Leontes for a husband.

In Act I, scene 2, everything appears happy and normal.  It seems that the only problem is that Leontes's best friend, Polixenes, wishes to return home to his family after an extended visit of nearly a year.  Since he will not listen to  the pleadings of Leontes, he asks Hermione to have a go.  It is at this point that Leontes changes from a loving husband into a jealous tyrant.

Where Leontes had failed to persuade him to stay a little longer, Hermione was successful.  This raises a red flag in Leontes's mind.  He decides that Hermione is carrying Polixenes's baby, and not his.  He does the math.  Polixenes has been visiting for nine months and his wife is nine months pregnant, ergo the baby must belong to Polixenes.  It makes sense only to Leontes.

As you say, by the end of Act II the audience is filled with sympathy for Hermione.  Shakespeare accomplishes this very cleverly.  He uses Leontes and Paulina to do this.  What we see is a man gone mad with unfounded jealousy.  We see no evidence of this but we do see Leontes unreasonable behavior.  He also uses Paulina, who is the only person in the court who is strong enough to stand up to Leontes, to give us a picture of Hermione.

By Act III and the trial, we are fully behind Hermione.  There is no proof that Hermione is guilty of anything but being a loving wife and mother.

user profile pic

suzy555 | Student, Grade 10 | (Level 1) Salutatorian

Posted October 21, 2010 at 4:51 AM (Answer #3)

dislike 0 like

Well,I have recently read the summery of (the winter's tale) by shakespeare,,,,Hermione was asked by her husband ( Leontes ) to bring Polixenes round in order to extend his visiting to Sicily and stay for a longer time with his dear friend Leontes after Polixenes refused saying that he had to go to Bohemia to do his jobs there,,,

Actually Hermione was able to let Polixenes agree to stay for a longer time but that let the jealous Leontes feel that his faithful wife and his blamless friend were having a secret relationship behind his back.

Leontes decided to put Hermione in prison and when that happened her small child Mamillius died from sadness about his mother who used to love him and play with him all the time. when Hermione heard that she fainted ay once and Paulina ( her friend ) told everyone that Hermione died so that Leontes wouldn't try to get rid of her by another way (as he thought she was guilty).

Hermione the innocent lady , of course the readers of a summery to that play or the ones who watched it felt sorry for her,,,, Shakespeare wanted to show as: what does our week points do to us when we don't consider the matters well before doing the actions ( which is very obvious in Leontes's charater ) and the result of that is being alone .... like the tree which has no leaves or fruits.....stays lonely don't know what to do......after being bare ,,,,in the winter season....The Winter's Tale .

Join to answer this question

Join a community of thousands of dedicated teachers and students.

Join eNotes