Act IV, Scene III-Detailed Summary of Winter's Tales: "Winter's Tales" by William Shakespeare



Scene IV

It is near the cottage of the shepherd. Here Florizel and Perdita are talking. Perdita has apprehensions if the king finds out his son there, it would not be good but the young prince believes that even gods have taken forms:

"Apprehend
Nothing but jollity. The gods themselves,
Humbling their deities to love".

While the two of them are vowing of love the shepherd appears with the king, now disguised, and others. She welcomes them all one by one and offers different flowers to them according to their age and countenance. The prince requests Perdita to dance with him and promises lifelong allegiance:

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

Both the king and the Camillo praise the beauty and manners of Perdita. Polixenes, to ascertain whether his son is pouring money on the shepherdess, tells him that if here were in his place he would give presents to her, Florizel responds:

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

Seeing the eagerness and fondness of the couple the shepherd, deeming the prince an ordinary farmer, announces that he will give half the share of the Perdita to Florizel. Upon this, Florizel clears that he has so much that the old shepherd cannot even dream of though he does not reveal his true identity. The shepherd offers to give him the hand of Perdita in the presence of the king. Florizel agrees and the king intervenes asking Florizel if he has a father. He says he does have a father. The king asks him to postpone the contract of engagement and inform your father. Florizel refuses. The king insists but to no avail. And then the king of Bohemia discloses his identity. All are stunned. He threatens to punish the prince if he contracted or even contacted the shepherdess. He also warns the old shepherd not to allow the prince in nearby places.

The king leaves in anger and the shepherd is also not happy on this episode. Perdita asks the prince to leave.

The prince, Florizel, has designs of fleeing with Perdita. Camillo realizes that the prince will not listen to anybody; therefore, he decides to send him to Sicilia to the king Leontes. He knows the king of Sicilia will honour the son of his friend. This also earns him a chance to visit Sicilia.

They get hold of Autolycus and Florizel exchanges clothes with him. Both, Florizel and Perdita move to the sea for their journey to the kingdom of Sicilia.

After they have eloped, the shepherd and the clown are afraid. They decide to acquaint the king with the fact that Perdita is not the daughter of the shepherd. They would show him all that they found with her. Autolycus overhears them. He, thinking of returning favour to the prince, stops them from going to the court of the king. He decides to access the prince and inform him of this aboard.


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