Perdita Character: Discuss the character of Perdita, the fair shepherdess



Though she is the daughter of a king, yet a disowned and abandoned poor helpless creature. Perdita is brought up in the house of a shepherd. She excels in wondrous beauty. They all praise her. She is joyous, lively, gentle, wise and noble. She is known even in the distant lands for her beauty. The prince of Bohemia, Florizel falls in love with her. He does not reveal his true identity at first. Having known the true identity of the prince, she even advises him to leave her. The prince, in the presence of several people, requests Perdita to dance with him and promises lifelong allegiance:

"I pray:
Your hand, my Perdita: so turtles pair,
That never mean to part."

All praise her beauty. But she is neither vain nor proud. She is gentle and decent. She is not greedy nor does she like the prince for his worldly treasures. When, Polixenes, in order to ascertain whether his son is pouring money on the shepherdess, tells him that if he were in his place he would give presents to her. But the response of Florizel is evident of the stainless character of Perdita:

"She prizes not such trifles as these are:
The gifts she looks from me are pack'd and lock'd
Up in my heart".

The king of Bohemia, thinking her to be a shepherd's daughter, warns the prince Florizel and threatens him. Once she realizes the prince is in true love with her, she stands by him at all events. They escape to her own motherland, Sicilia-the land of her father and mother. It is here that the shepherd reveals her true identity and she is "his innocent babe truly begotten" whom the king finds to fulfil the prophecy of the oracle:

"and the king shall live without an heir, if that
which is lost be not found."


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