Autolycus is a short rogue, formerly one of Florizel’s servants. A consummate conman and pickpocket, he sings a great deal, both for his own pleasure and as part of his cons.
He is well-known for going to all merry gatherings and having his way with people’s purses. He was whipped from Florizel’s servants, consorts with brothel-owners, worked as a bailiff, married a tinker’s wife, attempted a variety of jobs, and settled on being a trickster. He arrives at the sheep-shearing as a pedlar, selling ballads and knick-knacks, and takes the opportunity to note who has money and where the keep it; and having sold his stock, he then takes their remaining money. He can counterfeit having been beaten at a moment’s notice as well as play the gentleman. By chance he is around in time to exchange his clothes with Florizel before the latter’s flight, and overhears enough of the plot to know what’s going on. He also overhears the Old Shepherd and the Clown debating, and offers to be their advocate to the King in return for gold. He brings them aboard Florizel’s ship, and it is therefore thanks to him that the mystery of Perdita’s identity is revealed. He is not overly pleased at this, as it’s a good thing rather than a roguish trick. Extremely quick-witted and able to turn any situation to his advantage, he is a coward, and trembles at the very thought of being caught and hanged.