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The Winter’s Tale

The Winter’s Tale


by William Shakespeare

The Winter’s Tale Compassion and Forgiveness Quotes

How we cite our quotes: Citations follow this format: (Act.Scene.Line). Line numbers correspond to the Norton edition.

Quote #1

Welcome hither,
As is the spring to the earth.
The blessed gods
Purge all infection from our air whilst you
Do climate here! (5.3.13-15)

Leontes, whose been suffering in Sicily for sixteen long years, suggests that Florizel’s presence is like the arrival of spring after a long, cold, harsh winter. What’s more, Florizel’s arrival in Sicily seems to have a healing effect on the king and his ailing court, which has yet to recover from the deaths of Hermione and Mammilius and the loss of baby Perdita.

Quote #2

Sir, you have done enough, and have perform'd
A saint-like sorrow: no fault could you make,
Which you have not redeem'd; indeed, paid down
More penitence than done trespass: at the last,
Do as the heavens have done, forget your evil;
With them forgive yourself. (5.1.1)

Cleomenes suggests that Leontes has suffered long enough for his sins and urges the king to forgive himself. So, what do you think? Has Leontes “paid down more penitence than [he’s] done trespass”? Why or why not?

Quote #3

I lost a couple, that 'twixt heaven and earth
Might thus have stood begetting wonder as
You, gracious couple, do: and then I lost--
All mine own folly--the society,
Amity too, of your brave father, whom,
Though bearing misery, I desire my life
Once more to look on him. (5.1.12)

Leontes admits that it’s his fault he lost his beloved family and dear friend. Yet, despite his “misery,” he also holds out hope that he’ll one day see Florizel’s “brave father” again.

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