The Winter's Tale

Camillo Character Analysis

Read our modern English translation.
A Sicilian nobleman and close advisor of Leontes. When Leontes suspects Polixenes of sleeping with his wife, he orders Camillo to poison Polixenes. Caught between his loyalty to his king and his knowledge that Polixenes is innocent, Camillo decides to help Polixenes escape Sicilia for Bohemia. Leontes thinks that Camillo is a traitor, but then later realizes that Camillo was actually right all along. After fleeing Sicilia, Camillo serves in Polixenes’ court in Bohemia for sixteen years, before finally returning to Sicilia with Polixenes, who pursues his son there. Having realized his folly, Leontes apologizes to Camillo, and the two reconcile. At the very end of the play, Leontes even suggests that Camillo should marry Paulina.

Camillo Quotes in The Winter's Tale

The The Winter's Tale quotes below are all either spoken by Camillo or refer to Camillo. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Loyalty, Fidelity, and Honesty Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Simon & Schuster edition of The Winter's Tale published in 2005.
Act 1, Scene 1 Quotes

I very well agree with you in the hopes of him: it
is a gallant child; one that indeed physics the
subject, makes old hearts fresh: they that went on
crutches ere he was born desire yet their life to
see him a man.

Related Characters: Camillo (speaker), Mamillius
Page Number: 1.1.39-44
Explanation and Analysis:

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Act 1, Scene 2 Quotes

Ha' not you seen, Camillo, —
But that's past doubt, you have, or your eye-glass
Is thicker than a cuckold's horn, —or heard, —
—For to a vision so apparent rumour
Cannot be mute, —or thought, —for cogitation
Resides not in that man that does not think, —
My wife is slippery?

Related Characters: Leontes (speaker), Polixenes, Hermione, Camillo
Page Number: 1.2.329-335
Explanation and Analysis:

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Swear his thought over
By each particular star in heaven and
By all their influences, you may as well
Forbid the sea for to obey the moon
As or by oath remove or counsel shake
The fabric of his folly, whose foundation
Is piled upon his faith and will continue
The standing of his body.

Related Characters: Camillo (speaker), Leontes
Page Number: 1.2.511-518
Explanation and Analysis:

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Act 3, Scene 2 Quotes

For Polixenes,
With whom I am accused, I do confess
I loved him as in honour he required,
With such a kind of love as might become
A lady like me, with a love even such,
So and no other, as yourself commanded:
Which not to have done I think had been in me
Both disobedience and ingratitude
To you and toward your friend, whose love had spoke,
Even since it could speak, from an infant, freely
That it was yours. Now, for conspiracy,
I know not how it tastes; though it be dish'd
For me to try how: all I know of it
Is that Camillo was an honest man;
And why he left your court, the gods themselves,
Wotting no more than I, are ignorant.

Related Characters: Hermione (speaker), Leontes, Polixenes, Camillo
Page Number: 3.2.65-81
Explanation and Analysis:

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O, think what they have done
And then run mad indeed, stark mad! for all
Thy by-gone fooleries were but spices of it.
That thou betray'dst Polixenes,'twas nothing;
That did but show thee, of a fool, inconstant
And damnable ingrateful: nor was't much,
Thou wouldst have poison'd good Camillo's honour,
To have him kill a king: poor trespasses,
More monstrous standing by: whereof I reckon
The casting forth to crows thy baby-daughter
To be or none or little; though a devil
Would have shed water out of fire ere done't:
Nor is't directly laid to thee, the death
Of the young prince, whose honourable thoughts,
Thoughts high for one so tender, cleft the heart
That could conceive a gross and foolish sire
Blemish'd his gracious dam: this is not, no,
Laid to thy answer: but the last, —O lords,
When I have said, cry 'woe!' the queen, the queen,
The sweet'st, dear'st creature's dead,
and vengeance for't
Not dropp'd down yet.

Related Characters: Paulina (speaker), Leontes, Polixenes, Hermione, Camillo, Mamillius, Perdita
Page Number: 3.2.201-222
Explanation and Analysis:

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Act 5, Scene 3 Quotes

My lord, your sorrow was too sore laid on,
Which sixteen winters cannot blow away,
So many summers dry; scarce any joy
Did ever so long live; no sorrow
But kill'd itself much sooner.

Related Characters: Camillo (speaker), Leontes
Related Symbols: The Seasons
Page Number: 5.3.57-62
Explanation and Analysis:

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O, peace, Paulina!
Thou shouldst a husband take by my consent,
As I by thine a wife: this is a match,
And made between's by vows. Thou hast found mine;
But how, is to be question'd; for I saw her,
As I thought, dead, and have in vain said many
A prayer upon her grave. I'll not seek far—
For him, I partly know his mind —to find thee
An honourable husband. Come, Camillo
And take her by the hand, whose worth and honesty
Is richly noted and here justified
By us, a pair of kings.

Related Characters: Leontes (speaker), Hermione, Paulina, Camillo
Page Number: 5.3.170-182
Explanation and Analysis:

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Camillo Character Timeline in The Winter's Tale

The timeline below shows where the character Camillo appears in The Winter's Tale. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Act 1, Scene 1
Friendship and Love Theme Icon
...Bohemia visiting Sicilia along with his king Polixenes. He speaks to a Sicilian nobleman named Camillo about how hospitable the Sicilians have been to him. Camillo tells him that the king... (full context)
Friendship and Love Theme Icon
Youth, Age, and Time Theme Icon
Camillo says that Polixenes and Leontes have been close friends since childhood, and Archidamus agrees that... (full context)
Act 1, Scene 2
Loyalty, Fidelity, and Honesty Theme Icon
Evidence, Truth, Persuasion, and Belief Theme Icon
...there are many men who don’t realize that their wives are unfaithful. He calls for Camillo, and sends Mamillius away. (full context)
Loyalty, Fidelity, and Honesty Theme Icon
Evidence, Truth, Persuasion, and Belief Theme Icon
Leontes thinks that everyone in his court knows about his wife’s infidelity, and asks Camillo if he saw how Polixenes was only persuaded to stay by Hermione. He asks Camillo... (full context)
Loyalty, Fidelity, and Honesty Theme Icon
Friendship and Love Theme Icon
Evidence, Truth, Persuasion, and Belief Theme Icon
...foot,” and “skulking in corners.” He sees all this as definitive proof of their affair. Camillo still doesn’t believe it, and tells Leontes to “be cured / Of this diseased opinion.”... (full context)
Loyalty, Fidelity, and Honesty Theme Icon
Leontes asks Camillo to poison Polixenes. Camillo says he is willing to do this, but still refuses to... (full context)
Loyalty, Fidelity, and Honesty Theme Icon
Leontes leaves, and Camillo examines his difficult position: if he is to obey his king, he “must be the... (full context)
Loyalty, Fidelity, and Honesty Theme Icon
Friendship and Love Theme Icon
Justice and Natural Order Theme Icon
Camillo says that there is a “sickness” that has originated in Polixenes himself. Polixenes is confused,... (full context)
Loyalty, Fidelity, and Honesty Theme Icon
Friendship and Love Theme Icon
Evidence, Truth, Persuasion, and Belief Theme Icon
Camillo says that there is no oath Polixenes can make that will convince Leontes that he... (full context)
Loyalty, Fidelity, and Honesty Theme Icon
Evidence, Truth, Persuasion, and Belief Theme Icon
Polixenes says he believes Camillo, because he saw Leontes’ contempt for him in his expression. He says that because Hermione... (full context)
Act 2, Scene 1
Loyalty, Fidelity, and Honesty Theme Icon
Evidence, Truth, Persuasion, and Belief Theme Icon
Leontes is looking for Camillo and Polixenes, but one of his lords informs him that the two have both fled... (full context)
Evidence, Truth, Persuasion, and Belief Theme Icon
...worries of Antigonus and the other nobleman, and remains sure of Hermione’s infidelity. He sees Camillo’s flight from Sicilia as more proof of the affair. He says that he has sent... (full context)
Act 2, Scene 3
Loyalty, Fidelity, and Honesty Theme Icon
Friendship and Love Theme Icon
Justice and Natural Order Theme Icon
Leontes thinks that Camillo and Polixenes are probably laughing at him from afar, but he tells himself not to... (full context)
Act 3, Scene 2
Loyalty, Fidelity, and Honesty Theme Icon
Friendship and Love Theme Icon
Evidence, Truth, Persuasion, and Belief Theme Icon
Justice and Natural Order Theme Icon
...reads out her indictment, which accuses her of committing adultery, as well as conspiring with Camillo in “high treason,” against Leontes. (full context)
Loyalty, Fidelity, and Honesty Theme Icon
Friendship and Love Theme Icon
Justice and Natural Order Theme Icon
...become / A lady like me,” but not in a romantic way. She says that Camillo was an honest man and she doesn’t know why he left Sicilia. Leontes accuses Hermione... (full context)
Loyalty, Fidelity, and Honesty Theme Icon
Friendship and Love Theme Icon
Evidence, Truth, Persuasion, and Belief Theme Icon
Justice and Natural Order Theme Icon
...officer reads the oracle out loud, which says that Hermione is chaste, Polixenes is innocent, Camillo is “a true subject,” and Leontes is “a jealous tyrant.” It also says that Leontes... (full context)
Loyalty, Fidelity, and Honesty Theme Icon
Friendship and Love Theme Icon
Seriousness, Levity, and Humor Theme Icon
Evidence, Truth, Persuasion, and Belief Theme Icon
...and admits that he has been wrong. He pledges to “new woo” Hermione and recall Camillo to Sicilia. He admits that he has been jealous and wrong, and that Camillo is... (full context)
Act 4, Scene 2
Loyalty, Fidelity, and Honesty Theme Icon
Friendship and Love Theme Icon
Justice and Natural Order Theme Icon
At Polixenes’ palace in Bohemia, Camillo begs Polixenes to let him return to his homeland of Sicilia, since Leontes is “penitent”... (full context)
Loyalty, Fidelity, and Honesty Theme Icon
Justice and Natural Order Theme Icon
Polixenes asks Camillo if he has seen Florizell recently, who has recently been spending much of his time... (full context)
Act 4, Scene 4
Justice and Natural Order Theme Icon
...found Perdita when she was a baby, and his son) enter, along with Polixenes and Camillo in disguises. The shepherd tells Perdita to fulfill her duties as “mistress o’ the feast”... (full context)
Friendship and Love Theme Icon
Youth, Age, and Time Theme Icon
Justice and Natural Order Theme Icon
...and dancing. Continuing to flirt with her, he asks her to dance. Polixenes mentions to Camillo that Perdita seems noble in her behavior, as if she were more than just a... (full context)
Friendship and Love Theme Icon
Seriousness, Levity, and Humor Theme Icon
Evidence, Truth, Persuasion, and Belief Theme Icon
...with him. The shepherd is upset and angry at Perdita for mingling with the prince. Camillo tells Florizell to beware of Polixenes’ temper and not to appear before him “till the... (full context)
Loyalty, Fidelity, and Honesty Theme Icon
Justice and Natural Order Theme Icon
Camillo talks to himself and realizes that he may be able to use Florizell’s fleeing Bohemia... (full context)
Seriousness, Levity, and Humor Theme Icon
Evidence, Truth, Persuasion, and Belief Theme Icon
Camillo tells Florizell to tell Leontes that he comes from Bohemia as a representative of his... (full context)
Justice and Natural Order Theme Icon
Camillo promises to write letters of introduction for Florizell to Leontes. Then, he sees Autolycus and... (full context)
Loyalty, Fidelity, and Honesty Theme Icon
Seriousness, Levity, and Humor Theme Icon
Evidence, Truth, Persuasion, and Belief Theme Icon
Justice and Natural Order Theme Icon
Perdita, Camillo, and Florizell leave. Alone, Autolycus says that he understands what is going on, but will... (full context)
Act 5, Scene 1
Friendship and Love Theme Icon
Justice and Natural Order Theme Icon
...Polixenes is in Sicilia, chasing after his son who has fled with a shepherd’s daughter. Camillo is with him, and on their way to the king’s court, they have found Perdita’s... (full context)
Act 5, Scene 2
Seriousness, Levity, and Humor Theme Icon
Evidence, Truth, Persuasion, and Belief Theme Icon
...gentleman says that the shepherd showed the bundle in which he found Perdita, and that Camillo and Leontes reacted with an extreme display of emotion, and he could not tell whether... (full context)
Act 5, Scene 3
Friendship and Love Theme Icon
Seriousness, Levity, and Humor Theme Icon
Justice and Natural Order Theme Icon
Leontes, Polixenes, Florizell, Perdita, Camillo, and Paulina all go together to see the statue of Hermione, which is at Paulina’s... (full context)
Friendship and Love Theme Icon
Evidence, Truth, Persuasion, and Belief Theme Icon
Camillo and Polixenes try to calm Leontes down, and tell him that he has showed enough... (full context)
Friendship and Love Theme Icon
Youth, Age, and Time Theme Icon
Seriousness, Levity, and Humor Theme Icon
Justice and Natural Order Theme Icon
...sad, and says that she should take a new husband. He suggests that she wed Camillo, who he says has proved his “worth and honesty.” Leontes begs pardon from both Hermione... (full context)