The Winter's Tale | Study Guide

William Shakespeare

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The Winter's Tale | Characters

Character Description
Leontes Leontes, the king of Sicilia, is tormented by irrational jealousy and so persecutes his wife. After losing his family and the heir to the kingdom, he repents. Read More
Polixenes Polixenes is the king of Bohemia. As the play opens he has been visiting his close friend Leontes, king of Sicilia, for nine months. Read More
Hermione Hermione, wife of Leontes, is queen of Sicilia. Accused unfairly of adultery, she is forced to stand trial. Read More
Camillo Camillo is a Sicilian courtier. Read More
Paulina Paulina is the wife of Leontes's courtier, Antigonus. Read More
Florizell Florizell is the son of Polixenes and thus the prince of Bohemia. Read More
Perdita Perdita, whose name means "she who was lost" in Italian, is the abandoned daughter of Leontes and Hermione. As an infant child, she was abandoned to die on the seacoast of Bohemia but was found, adopted, and raised by the Shepherd. Read More
Antigonus Antigonus is a Sicilian courtier, married to Paulina. Leontes orders Antigonus to expose the infant Perdita, who he believes to be a bastard. Antigonus is killed by a wild bear in Bohemia.
Archidamus Archidamus is a Bohemian courtier.
Autolycus Autolycus is a roguish, clown-like figure who cheats his way to gain a dishonest living in Bohemia.
Cleomenes Cleomenes is a Sicilian envoy sent by Leontes to consult the oracle at Delphos.
Clown The clown is the Shepherd's simple-minded son.
Dion Dion is Cleomenes's fellow envoy to the oracle at Delphos.
Dorcas Dorcas is a Bohemian shepherdess.
Emilia Emilia is a lady-in-waiting to Hermione.
Gentlemen The first, second, and third gentlemen discuss the rediscovery of Perdita in Act 5, Scene 2, indirectly informing the audience about her reunion with her father in the process.
Jailer The jailer appears only in Act 2, Scene 2.
Mamillius Mamillius, son of Leontes and Hermione, is the heir to the throne of Sicilia. A young child, he dies early in the play.
Mariner The mariner has a brief dialogue with Antigonus after taking him to Bohemia in Act 3, Scene 3.
Mopsa Mopsa is a shepherdess in Bohemia.
Officer The officer at the court of Leontes reads the response of the oracle in Act 3, Scene 2.
Shepherd The shepherd is the adoptive father of Perdita. He found the infant girl when she was abandoned.
Time Time is a personified, Chorus-like figure who introduces Act 4 of the play, informing the audience of a 16-year gap in the action.
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