The Winter's Tale | Study Guide

William Shakespeare

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Course Hero. "The Winter's Tale Study Guide." Course Hero. 26 Sep. 2017. Web. 21 Sep. 2018. <https://www.coursehero.com/lit/The-Winters-Tale/>.

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Course Hero, "The Winter's Tale Study Guide," September 26, 2017, accessed September 21, 2018, https://www.coursehero.com/lit/The-Winters-Tale/.

The Winter's Tale | Scene Summaries

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Timeline of Events

  • Nine months earlier

    Polixenes stays in Sicilia as Leontes's guest.

    Act 1, Scene 1
  • As the play begins

    Leontes orders Camillo to murder Polixenes or forfeit his own life.

    Act 1, Scene 2
  • Soon after

    Camillo warns Polixenes and arranges to escape with him to Bohemia.

    Act 1, Scene 2
  • Soon after

    Leontes accuses Hermione of adultery and conspiracy and has her arrested.

    Act 2, Scene 1
  • The same day

    Leontes orders Cleomenes and Dion to ask the oracle at Delphos for the truth about Hermione.

    Act 2, Scene 1
  • Soon after

    Hermione bears a daughter while imprisoned.

    Act 2, Scene 3
  • Later

    Paulina visits the prison and takes the child to Leontes.

    Act 2, Scene 3
  • Same day

    Leontes rejects the child and orders Antigonus to abandon her in the wilderness.

    Act 2, Scene 3
  • Before the trial

    Cleomenes and Dion return to Sicilia after consulting the oracle at Delphos.

    Act 3, Scene 1
  • Day of trial

    The oracle declares Hermione's innocence and makes a prophecy.

    Act 3, Scene 2
  • Same day

    News comes that Mamillius has died. Hermione collapses and dies as well.

    Act 3, Scene 2
  • Same day

    Leontes repents his wickedness and vows a lifetime of penance.

    Act 3, Scene 2
  • Around the same time

    Antigonus abandons the child in Bohemia and is killed by a bear.

    Act 3, Scene 3
  • Same day

    The Shepherd finds Perdita and adopts her.

    Act 3, Scene 3
  • 16 years later

    Polixenes and Camillo go in disguise to investigate Florizell's entanglement with Perdita.

    Act 4, Scene 4
  • Some time later

    Florizell makes a public betrothal to Perdita. Polixenes reveals himself to forbid it.

    Act 4, Scene 4
  • Later

    Camillo aids Florizell's and Perdita's escape to Sicilia.

    Act 4, Scene 4
  • Some time later

    Leontes welcomes Florizell and Perdita. Perdita's heritage is revealed.

    Act 5, Scene 3
  • Later

    The sculpture of Hermione miraculously comes to life, and the couples are united.

    Act 5, Scene 3

Scene Summaries Chart

Scene Summary
Act 1, Scene 1 In the opening scene the Bohemian courtier Archidamus converses with his Sicilian counterpart Camillo. Archidamus hopes ... Read More
Act 1, Scene 2 Polixenes, king of Bohemia, announces his intention to depart from Sicilia after an extended visit there. He is concerne... Read More
Act 2, Scene 1 Accompanied by her ladies-in-waiting, Hermione converses with her young son, Mamillius. When she coaxes him to tell the ... Read More
Act 2, Scene 2 At the jail Antigonus's wife, Paulina, asks to see Hermione. The jailer regretfully refuses, telling Paulina that he has... Read More
Act 2, Scene 3 Leontes enters, reflecting on his continual anguish. Although Polixenes is immune to reprisals, he speculates grimly tha... Read More
Act 3, Scene 1 On their way back to Sicilia from Delphos, the envoys Cleomenes and Dion converse about their journey and their mission.... Read More
Act 3, Scene 2 With stern formality, Leontes opens the public trial of Hermione by ordering an officer to read the charges against her.... Read More
Act 3, Scene 3 On the seacoast of Bohemia, Antigonus converses with a sailor, with both men grimly anticipating an approaching storm. I... Read More
Act 4, Scene 1 The only character to appear in this scene is the figure of Time personified, perhaps carrying a symbolic hourglass and ... Read More
Act 4, Scene 2 Camillo, homesick for Sicilia, asks Polixenes for leave to make a return visit there. Polixenes refuses, however, insist... Read More
Act 4, Scene 3 Autolycus, a quick-witted rogue who is an expert in disguise and trickery, enters with a song hailing summer. Employing ... Read More
Act 4, Scene 4 Florizell hails Perdita as the queen of the sheep-shearing festival, calling her Flora, the Roman goddess of flowers and... Read More
Act 5, Scene 1 Back in Sicilia, Leontes gathers with Cleomenes, Dion, and Paulina. For 16 years, Leontes has kept his vows of penitence... Read More
Act 5, Scene 2 Three gentlemen of the court tell Autolycus the story of Perdita's recognition as the legitimate, long-lost daughter of ... Read More
Act 5, Scene 3 Leontes and the other principals gather at Paulina's gallery (or perhaps it is a chapel) to view the newly fashioned sta... Read More
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