Jennifer Black, a lecturer in the English department, authored Leading From the Margins: Paulina in Shakespeare’s “The Winter’s Tale” an article in SAGE Business Cases. Black argues that the play demonstrates the evolution of Paulina from a marginalized figure to an effective female leader.
As her abstract points out, “The Winter’s Tale” portrays the jealous king Leontes, who accuses his wife Hermione of committing adultery with his best friend Polixenes. Hermione’s servant Paulina confronts Leontes, but is ineffective in calming him with her bold criticisms of his behavior. As the play progresses, Paulina becomes a more effective leader, even in her position of relative powerlessness. Although she has no official status or authority, she learns to use patience and persistence to guide the king to become a wiser and more effective ruler, as well as to protect those for whom she cares.