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The Winter’s Tale
Act 3, scene 1

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Entire Play

The “tale” of The Winter’s Tale unfolds in scenes set sixteen years apart. In the first part of the play, Leontes, king…

Act 1, scene 1

Archidamus, a Bohemian courtier, exclaims about the magnificent hospitality he has found in Sicilia. Camillo explains about the long friendship…

Act 1, scene 2

Leontes suddenly grows insanely jealous of the friendship between his queen, Hermione, and his visiting friend Polixenes. Leontes forces Camillo…

Act 2, scene 1

Leontes learns of the departure of Polixenes and Camillo and has Hermione arrested for adultery and treason. He announces that…

Act 2, scene 2

Paulina attempts to visit Hermione in prison. Learning that the queen has given birth to a baby girl, Paulina decides…

Act 2, scene 3

Paulina brings the baby to the tormented Leontes, who first orders the baby burned, then orders Antigonus to take the…

Act 3, scene 1

The couriers, en route from Delphos with the oracle’s response, discuss the ceremony they observed and express their hopes for…

Act 3, scene 2

As Hermione tries to defend herself in open court, the oracle is read and she is declared chaste and Polixenes…

Act 3, scene 3

Antigonus leaves the baby in Bohemia, where Polixenes is king. In a sudden storm, the ship sinks and Antigonus is…

Act 4, scene 1

Father Time appears and bridges the sixteen-year gap following the abandonment of Perdita in Bohemia.

Act 4, scene 2

Camillo asks permission to return to Sicilia. Polixenes refuses his request and asks Camillo instead to go with him in…

Act 4, scene 3

Autolycus, a con man, steals the shepherd’s son’s money and decides to use the upcoming sheep-shearing feast as an occasion…

Act 4, scene 4

At the sheepshearing feast, Florizell and Perdita declare their love before the disguised Polixenes and Camillo. When Polixenes orders Florizell…

Act 5, scene 1

Paulina insists that Leontes must not remarry, despite the urgings of his courtiers. Florizell and Perdita arrive, and are greeted…

Act 5, scene 2

Autolycus learns from courtiers that Leontes’ lost daughter has been found; he then meets the newly elevated shepherd and shepherd’s…

Act 5, scene 3

Leontes, Polixenes, Perdita, Florizell, and Camillo go with Paulina to view the statue of Hermione. Leontes grieves over her death,…

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Scene 1
Enter Cleomenes and Dion.

CLEOMENES 
 The climate’s delicate, the air most sweet,
 Fertile the isle, the temple much surpassing
 The common praise it bears.
DION  I shall report,
5 For most it caught me, the celestial habits—
 Methinks I so should term them—and the reverence
 Of the grave wearers. O, the sacrifice,
 How ceremonious, solemn, and unearthly
 It was i’ th’ off’ring!
CLEOMENES 10 But of all, the burst
 And the ear-deaf’ning voice o’ th’ oracle,
 Kin to Jove’s thunder, so surprised my sense
 That I was nothing.
DION  If th’ event o’ th’ journey
15 Prove as successful to the Queen—O, be ’t so!—
 As it hath been to us rare, pleasant, speedy,
 The time is worth the use on ’t.
CLEOMENES  Great Apollo
 Turn all to th’ best! These proclamations,
20 So forcing faults upon Hermione,
 I little like.
DION  The violent carriage of it
 Will clear or end the business when the oracle,
87

89
The Winter’s Tale
ACT 3. SC. 2

 Thus by Apollo’s great divine sealed up,
25 Shall the contents discover. Something rare
 Even then will rush to knowledge. Go. Fresh horses;
 And gracious be the issue.
They exit.