In Act 4, Scene 4, Perdita eschews "streaked gillyvors" because they are "nature's bastards"; that is, they are not naturally occurring and require human intervention to create. Perdita suggests that the production of these flowers entails "an art which in their piedness shares / With great creating nature." In other words, manipulating nature to create unnatural life forms such as the streaked gillyvor is like the sin of playing God. However, Polixenes responds that such artifice is not unnatural:
Yet nature is made better by no mean
But nature makes that mean.
So, over that art
Which you say adds to nature is an art
That nature makes. You see, sweet maid, we marry
A gentler scion to the wildest stock,
And make conceive a bark of baser kind
By bud of nobler race. This is an art
Which does mend nature, change it rather, but
The art itself is nature.
Polixenes uses logos here to persuade Perdita that artifice should be celebrated, not rejected. Using the metaphor of these cross-bred, "pied" flowers, he contends that, contrary to Perdita's beliefs, the human intervention required for these feats of engineering is not unnatural because it is nature itself that gives humans the means of engineering it. In doing so, Polixenes contributes to the play's assertion of the power of art and artifice, which culminates in the restoration of the family through Hermione's statue.
In Act 4, Scene 4, Perdita expresses her anxiety about the class difference between her and Florizell. She worries that they are both dressed inappropriately for their status: Florizell is dressed as a shepherd despite being a prince, while Perdita is dressed as a princess despite (supposedly) being a Shepherd's daughter. In response, Florizell alludes to figures from Greek and Roman mythology who disguise themselves to woo beautiful women:
The gods themselves,
Humbling their deities to love, have taken
The shapes of beasts upon them. Jupiter
Became a bull, and bellowed; the green Neptune
A ram, and bleated; and the fire-robed god,
Golden Apollo, a poor humble swain,
As I seem now.
In classical mythology, the god Jupiter disguised himself as a bull to seduce the princess Europa, while Neptune transformed into a ram after abducting the object of his desire, Theophane, to prevent her suitors from finding her, and Apollo seduced the shepherdess Isse dressed as a shepherd. By making reference to these mythological figures, Florizell contends that the use of disguises is justified for the sake of love. These allusions to physical transformations in pursuit of a romantic interest become even more significant in light of Hermione's own transformation into a statue and back into a human at the end of the play.