The Winter's Tale


William Shakespeare

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The Winter's Tale: Act 3, Scene 1 Summary & Analysis

Read our modern English translation of this scene.
Cleomenes and Dion, the two men sent to Delphos by Leontes, arrive at a sea-port in Sicilia. They both remark on how beautiful the island of Delphos was and “how ceremonious, solemn and unearthly” was the offering to Apollo they made there for a prophecy. They are carrying the written oracle “seal’d up” and both hope that when it is read it will be good for the queen Hermione.
Cleomenes and Dion must balance their loyalty and duty toward the king and queen. They are obeying Leontes in journeying to Delphos for the oracle, but still hold out hope for Hermione’s innocence. The “seal’d up” oracle they carry should be the ultimate piece of evidence in Hermione’s trial.
Loyalty, Fidelity, and Honesty Theme Icon
Evidence, Truth, Persuasion, and Belief Theme Icon