chapter  4
Paulina, Corinthian Women, and the Revisioning of Pauline and Early Modern Patriarchal Ideology in The Winter’s Tale: Randall Martin
Pages 20

Among Shakespeare’s periodic references to St Paul, Paulina in The Winter’s Tale may be the most complex and revealing. An invented character with no equivalent in the play’s source, Robert Greene’s Pandosto, she becomes Shakespeare’s main voice of rational moral authority: fi rst as she defends Hermione against the sexual slander of Leontes; and then, after the king has belatedly acknowledged his error, as his political and spiritual counselor in anticipation of a spectacular reconciliation with his “dead” wife and abandoned daughter. In appearing prominently towards the end of Shakespeare’s career in a play that self-consciously re-examines many of the themes and structures of his earlier works, Paulina has the potential to illuminate the interpretive signifi cance of other Shakespearian allusions to Paul, and the nature of the playwright’s imaginative and critical engagements with scripture in general.