Upon reading the second scene of The Winter’s Tale, where Hermione is introduced, I knew that I was going to love her, and no not just because she shares the same name as Hermione Granger.However, both women are not afraid to stand up for themselves, and have clear strong personalities which I admire. One of the first things that the audience hears Hermione say is “You sir, charge him too coldly” (I.II.37-38). While this may seem like a simple remark in modern day times, it tells the audience a lot about the type of woman Hermione is. She has absolutely no problem telling people how it is, regardless of their sex, which is something that was not a normal practice for a “proper lady” at this time. She even stands up to her husband, Leontes and refuses to be silenced by him even though he sends her away.
I don’t think that there is any question that there is obviously something wrong with Leontes as he seems to think that the entire world is against him and creates what everyone else thinks to be is a lie, that Hermione has been unfaithful to him, and even calls her a whore. The way in which his character is described makes me start to question Shakespeare’s inspiration. It seems as though he may have some sort of mental illness that is leading him to act in a certain way. While there was no awareness or discovery of mental illnesses at the time when Shakespeare wrote this play it is very interesting to look at his character from a modern day perspective, knowing the research that we have today. I am interested to see what happens to his character as this could be analyzed as a commentary on how people viewed those with mental illness in Shakespeare’s time regardless of whether or not that was the intent.