The Roles and Influence of Florizel and Perdita in
According to G. Blakemore Evans, the first three acts of William Shakespeare's The Winter's Tale are based on the novel Pandosta by Robert Greene published in 1588 (1564). Three things that are similar in both versions of the tale are that they both take place in Bohemia and Sicilia, both tales center around the jealousy of a king, and both tales give Bohemia a fictional coastline (Evans 1564). Shakespeare's play, however, is much more optimistic and more than just a romance. While he basically explores the redemption of the adults in The Winter's Tale, this redemption cannot be ignored in light of the influences and roles that the children have in bringing about that redemption. This essay will discuss and compare the influences and roles of Florizel, the son of Polixenes, and Perdita, the daughter of Leontes, on the actions of their parents. Specifically, this essay will compare the statement of how Polixenes feels about his son (1.ii.165-171) with the reconciliation type role that Perdita plays in Act V of The Winter's Tale.
As The Winter's Tale opens up, the audience is introduced to the two countries (I.i) and their heads of state, King Leontes of Sicilia and King Polixenes of Bohemia (I.ii). These are two men who call one another "brother" (I.ii.4, 15), having grown up and trained together (I.ii.61-64). Additionally, the audience discovers that both men have sons of approximately the same age when the men are discussing their children: "Are you so fond of your young prince as we do seem to be of ours?" (I.ii.163-4). To this, Polixenes replies that:
He's all my exercise, my mirth, my matter;
Now my sworn friend, and then mine enemy;
My parasite, my soldier, statesman, all.
He makes a July's day short as December,
And with his varying childness cure in me
Thoughts that would thick my blood (I.ii.165-171).
Here, Polixenes seem to be saying, that hi...