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PlayShakespeare.com: The Ultimate Free Shakespeare Resource
PlayShakespeare.com: The Ultimate Free Shakespeare Resource

The Winter's Tale Characters

Polixenes is the King of Bohemia. He is a close childhood friend of Leontes’s, and is willing to abandon his kingdom for nine months to visit the latter.

He is convinced to remain longer by Hermione, with whom he gets on well. He realizes that all is not well from Leontes’s actions before Camillo reveals that he is to be poisoned. Sixteen years do nothing to blunt the effect this revelation has. He has no interest in a reconciliation with Leontes, nor in letting Camillo return to Sicily.

He is a concerned father who worries about his son becoming attached to a shepherdess. He strongly approves of cross-breeding noble plants with vile ones, but does not carry the logic of his argument over to his bloodline. He appears unaware of this contradiction. Though he recognizes Perdita’s natural nobility, the thought of Florizel marrying her enrages him, revealing a temper we did not know he had. When he discovers that Florizel has fled with the girl, he chases after him instead of merely disinheriting him as threatened. Seeing Leontes again in the context of the discovery of Perdita’s identity is enough for him to be reconciled. He also ennobles the girl’s adoptive family, whom he called traitors when she was not of noble birth.

 

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