The Queen’s Two Bodies in The Winter’s Tale

  • Maggie Ellen Ray
Part of the Queenship and Power book series (QAP)


This chapter reads the relationships among the play’s central female characters—Queen Hermione, Paulina, and Perdita—from the theoretical sense of the double royal body. This notion, first explored by Ernst Kantorowicz and expanded by Marie Axton and others, posits the complicated manifestation of the body politic as it is bounded by the body natural. In the chapter, I read Queen Hermione and Paulina’s relationship, and then Queen Hermione and Perdita’s, as symbolic of this arrangement. As Hermione’s body natural compromises the enactment of her body politic, Paulina must claim the discursive role usually attributed to the latter in order to restore the kingdom. This restoration only happens, however, once Hermione’s physical body is no longer a threat to her political role as queen.


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Maggie Ellen Ray
    • 1
  1. 1.Independent ScholarLargoUSA

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