The Winter's Tale


William Shakespeare

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The Winter's Tale: Act 4, Scene 1 Summary & Analysis

Read our modern English translation of this scene.
The allegorical figure of Father Time comes on stage, and addresses the audience. He tells the audience not to be distressed that he is now jumping sixteen years into the future. He says that Leontes grieves “the effects of his fond jealousies” and “shuts up himself.” He says that king Polixenes in Bohemia has a son named Florizell, and also tells the audience that Perdita has grown up as the shepherd’s daughter in Bohemia.
Both the allegorical Father Time character and the sixteen-year flash forward are remarkable, uncommon features for a Shakespearian play. They hint at the importance of the theme of time and aging in the play, and the play’s movement forward in time allows us to see how the characters change with age.
Youth, Age, and Time Theme Icon
Literary Devices