The Winter's Tale | Study Guide

William Shakespeare

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The Winter's Tale | Act 4, Scene 2 | Summary



Camillo, homesick for Sicilia, asks Polixenes for leave to make a return visit there. Polixenes refuses, however, insisting that he needs Camillo's help to determine exactly why the king's son Florizell is spending so much time at the home of a certain shepherd. Camillo says he has heard the Shepherd has "a daughter of most rare note." They plan to disguise themselves and talk with the Shepherd.


Alert spectators and readers will recognize a parallel in this scene between Camillo's desire to depart and Polixenes's yearning to leave Sicilia in Act 1, Scene 2. The brief conversation between the two characters in Act 4, Scene 2 furthers the play's plot development: a romantic tie between Florizell and the Shepherd's daughter is distinctly implied, and we just happen to know a shepherd who adopted a baby girl 16 years ago.

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