The Winter's Tale

Shepherd’s Son Character Analysis

Read our modern English translation.
Referred to in some editions as simply “Clown”, he is the son of the shepherd. When Polixenes discovers the relationship between Florizell and Perdita, he threatens to punish both the shepherd and his son. The shepherd’s son then advises his father to show Polixenes the bundle in which Perdita was found, proving that she is not the shepherd’s actual daughter.
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Shepherd’s Son Character Timeline in The Winter's Tale

The timeline below shows where the character Shepherd’s Son appears in The Winter's Tale. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Act 3, Scene 3
Youth, Age, and Time Theme Icon
Justice and Natural Order Theme Icon
...Perdita on the ground, and decides to “take it up for / pity.” The shepherd’s son enters and tells the shepherd that he has seen two remarkable sights: a ship wrecked... (full context)
Seriousness, Levity, and Humor Theme Icon
The shepherd remarks on the unfortunate fate of Antigonus, but draws his son’s attention to the child he has found, and some gold that was left with the... (full context)
Act 4, Scene 3
Seriousness, Levity, and Humor Theme Icon
A con-man named Autolycus is walking along a road in Bohemia, singing a song about spring and how he enjoys “tumbling in the hay,” with women. He sees the... (full context)
Loyalty, Fidelity, and Honesty Theme Icon
Seriousness, Levity, and Humor Theme Icon
Lying on the ground, Autolycus shouts that he is hurting. The shepherd’s son goes to help him, and he says that he has been attacked and robbed. The... (full context)
Act 4, Scene 4
Justice and Natural Order Theme Icon
...of shepherds (including the shepherd who 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... (full context)
Seriousness, Levity, and Humor Theme Icon
Justice and Natural Order Theme Icon
...are in love. A servant enters and announces that a “peddler” has come to play songs and ballads and sell small trinkets. The shepherd’s son calls for the peddler to come... (full context)
Loyalty, Fidelity, and Honesty Theme Icon
Seriousness, Levity, and Humor Theme Icon
The shepherd’s son buys a shepherdess named Mopsa some ribbons from Autolycus. Mopsa asks him to buy her... (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
...“this is the time that the unjust man doth thrive.” The old shepherd and his son enter, carrying the box in which they found Perdita so long ago. The shepherd’s son... (full context)
Loyalty, Fidelity, and Honesty Theme Icon
Seriousness, Levity, and Humor Theme Icon
Justice and Natural Order Theme Icon
The shepherd and his son plan to go to Polixenes’ palace. Autolycus overhears them and, pretending to be a noble... (full context)
Loyalty, Fidelity, and Honesty Theme Icon
Seriousness, Levity, and Humor Theme Icon
...says that the girl’s father is sure to be killed, as well as the shepherd’s son, who will be flayed alive, covered in honey and “set on the head of a... (full context)
Loyalty, Fidelity, and Honesty Theme Icon
Seriousness, Levity, and Humor Theme Icon
Evidence, Truth, Persuasion, and Belief Theme Icon
Autolycus directs the shepherd and his son toward the seashore. They think their only hope is to tell Polixenes that Perdita is... (full context)
Act 5, Scene 1
Friendship and Love Theme Icon
Justice and Natural Order Theme Icon
...“a holy father,” against whom Leontes has “done sin.” He wishes he still had his son and daughter, “such goodly things” as Florizell and Perdita. Just then, a lord enters and... (full context)
Act 5, Scene 2
Friendship and Love Theme Icon
Seriousness, Levity, and Humor Theme Icon
Justice and Natural Order Theme Icon
...and Polixenes reunited joyously, and Leontes begged for Polixenes’ forgiveness. He says that the shepherd’s son explained to everyone that Antigonus was “torn to pieces with a bear,” and his ship... (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
...he probably wouldn’t have been believed, because of his “other discredits.” The shepherd and his son enter, both now dressed in rich clothes. The shepherd’s son brags to Autolycus that he... (full context)
Loyalty, Fidelity, and Honesty Theme Icon
Seriousness, Levity, and Humor Theme Icon
Justice and Natural Order Theme Icon
Autolycus asks the shepherd’s son to give him “good report to the Prince,” and pardon his earlier trickery. The shepherd... (full context)