Hermione's sophism : Ordinariness and theatricality in the winter's tale

Journal article

Wolfe, Judith. (2016). Hermione's sophism : Ordinariness and theatricality in the winter's tale. Philosophy and Literature. 39(1A), pp. 83-105. https://doi.org/10.1353/phl.2015.0038
AuthorsWolfe, Judith

This essay queries and extends Stanley Cavell’s reading of Shakespeare’s The Winter’s Tale by a close investigation of the character and language of Hermione. Far from being merely a passive victim of Leontes’s madness (or, in Cavellian terms, “skepticism”), I argue, Hermione is an active contributor to the disintegration of their relationship by “sophistically” refusing to distinguish between language as conversation and language as mere play. The play’s conspicuously metatheatrical engagement with Hermione’s (as Leontes’s) repudiation of vulnerability shows that the threat of “theatricalization” or sophism cannot (as Cavell or Rush Rhees might wish) simply be excised but must be integrated in ordinary relationships.

JournalPhilosophy and Literature
Journal citation39 (1A), pp. 83-105
PublisherJohns Hopkins University Press
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.1353/phl.2015.0038
PubMed ID34409987
Scopus EID2-s2.0-84964388929
Research or scholarlyResearch
Page range83-105
Publisher's version
All rights reserved
File Access Level
Output statusPublished
Publication dates
OnlineSep 2015
Publication process dates
Deposited11 Nov 2021
Permalink -


Restricted files

Publisher's version

  • 15
    total views
  • 1
    total downloads
  • 5
    views this month
  • 0
    downloads this month
These values are for the period from 19th October 2020, when this repository was created.

Export as

Related outputs

The renewal of perception in religious faith and biblical narrative
Wolfe, Judith. (2021). The renewal of perception in religious faith and biblical narrative. European Journal for Philosophy of Religion. 13(4), pp. 111-128. https://doi.org/10.24204/EJPR.2021.3744
A short grammar of providence
Wolfe, Judith. (2021). A short grammar of providence. International Journal of Systematic Theology. 23(3), pp. 428-431. https://doi.org/10.1111/ijst.12503
The eschatological turn in German philosophy
Wolfe, Judith. (2019). The eschatological turn in German philosophy. Modern Theology. 35(1), pp. 55-70. https://doi.org/10.1111/moth.12460