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The Winter’s Tale Act 4, Scene 1 Summary

  • A character with wings and an hourglass appears on the stage and identifies himself as “Time.”
  • Time announces to the audience that 16 years have passed (since the last scene) and asks us to keep an open mind about the play’s fast-forwarding of events. (FYI: some editions of the play say that 15 years have passed so don’t get all worked up if your copy says “15” and not “16.”)
  • Then Time gives the audience a little update on what’s gone down in Sicily and Bohemia. In Sicily, Leontes, who feels really, really bad about the way his jealousy destroyed his family, has shut himself up in isolation. In Bohemia (where Time is now hanging out), King Polixenes has a son named Florizel, who is all grown up. Also, Perdita (the abandoned baby) has been raised by the Old Shepherd and she’s grown up to be quite a looker.

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