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The Winter’s Tale Friendship Quotes

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

Quote #10

As thou lovest me, Camillo, wipe not out the rest of
thy services by leaving me now: the need I have of
thee thine own goodness hath made; better not to
have had thee than thus to want thee: thou, having
made me businesses which none without thee can
sufficiently manage, must either stay to execute
them thyself or take away with thee the very
services thou hast done; which if I have not enough
considered, as too much I cannot, to be more
thankful to thee shall be my study, and my profit
therein the heaping friendships. (4.2.2)

At the prospect of losing Camillo, Polixenes pleads with his friend as though his life depended on it. When Polixenes muses that he would have been “better” of without having Camillo’s “service” and friendship at all, we can’t help but notice that Polixenes inverts the age old adage, “it’s better to have loved and lost than not have loved at all.”

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