Yeah. A bit embarrassing. It's the Paulina's last speech in The Winter's Tale that gets me every time. It didn't used to. But then my Dad died. And the thing is, I'm not crying out of thinking about my grief that my Dad died, but rather, I cry because I'm thinking about my Mom's grief. It's been 16 years, and my Mom's doing well, but I know that she misses my Dad, her husband of many years, deeply every single day.
So when I cry at those lines by Paulina, I'm not grieving Antigonus, but grieving for Paulina's pain, which feels very real to me in a way it didn't 17 years ago. And I know, despite Leonte's attempt to wrap things up neatly with the marriage to Camillo, Paulina's still going to know grief. Or, well, I imagine the character would if she existed at all once the scene ends.
Shakespeare doesn't really represent many grown up married couples who seem to have good marriages, and even fewer widows or widowers who grieve their partner. Macbeth doesn't have time, nor do Antony and Cleopatra, and their in such a different world, where suicide makes sense as a response.
Antigonus and Paulina seem to have a decent relationship. In 2.3, the scene where Leontes tells Antigonus to make Paulina "stay her tongue," Antigonus basically says he can't, and doesn't seem particularly bothered that he can't. Leontes threatens to kill both Antigonus and his wife if Antigonus doesn't carry out his wishes regarding the baby (later Perdita), and thus can force Antigonus to commit what he's pretty sure will be murder. Thus, his tie to Paulina distinguishes his act of obedience to Leontes' murderous intent from Camillo's avoidance of obedience to the order to kill Polixenes. Camillo can, apparently, go into exile because he leaves no one behind for Leontes to attack, while Antigonus leaves Paulina and
... three daughters; the eldest is elevenHe has a lot to worry about. (The daughters are never mentioned again, and seem to be there more for momentary effect than plotting; in 2.1, Antigonus is trying to convince Leontes that Hermione was chaste, as was Paulina, and if they aren't, he'd "geld" his daughters to prevent them producing "false generations."
The second and the third, nine, and some five (2.1)
And so, there's Paulina 16 years later, seemingly alone with her grief, still remembering Antigonus in the midst of others' celebration:
There's time enough for that;She reminds us that death and grief are, in this play, still real and powerful. So, yeah, I cried.
Lest they desire upon this push to trouble
Your joys with like relation. Go together,
You precious winners all; your exultation
Partake to every one. I, an old turtle,
Will wing me to some wither'd bough and there
My mate, that's never to be found again,
Lament till I am lost.
(All quotations from The Winter's Tale from: the MIT Text site.)