A Heart of Stone Turns to Flesh


Allene Kearney

Triangulating Shakespeare

. . .In our class production of "The Triumph of Time," scenes from The Winter's Tale, I play the part of the officer in the court scene. I felt my role was a minor one with little significance. However, the more I analyze the play, I find that the Oracle of Apollo, which the officer reads is thematically significant. As the officer, it is my duty to read the indictment (charges made by the King), to see that the court acts judiciously, and to read Apollo's judgment. Hermione appeals to the gods when she perceives that she will not receive justice in the King's court. Leontes is truly the one on trial during this scene. He is proven to be cold hearted, granite like, and blasphemous.

The court scene in our production focuses on the estranged tyrannical Leontes who enjoys exercising his power over the powerless, but faithful, Hermione. The court begins with a military type march into the court by the King, his lords, and the officer of the court. Leontes is proud and arrogant as he calls for the prisoner. Our director wanted to capture the sterile bars and geometric lines of our location in the halls of the Agricultural Building, but because of the limitations of having one camera with no tracking capabilities much of this is not on screen. Hermione is seen standing alone with only her faith to uphold her during this ordeal. She comes across as the victim of the powerful jealous King as she stands with her head down while the indictment is read. In a medium shot of this speech, the officer stands between the accused and the accuser as a symbol of justice. The over the shoulder shots showing the interaction of the King and Queen add to the drama. Hermione is clearly contrasted to her bold unabashed defender Paulina. Donald K. Hedrick feels that Hermione and Paulina are somewhat blurred in the BBC production of the court scene. He feels that "Timidity weakens wonderful Margaret Tyzack's Paulina, whose nobility has far too much of Hermione's propriety to it." In the English 431 production Paulina is bold, brash, and forceful. When she sees the King's repentance she employs the quality of mercy without appearing weak. She remains the tower of strength on which he can lean; she leads Leontes out of the court upon his insistence to the chapel where he will undergo his re-creation.

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