| Quote #1
Here, Camillo brags that the young prince is so special that he “makes old hearts fresh.” Not only does Mammilius have the power to make it seem as though time has been reversed (meaning, he makes old people feel young again), but he also instills in the old and frail a desire to extend their time on earth in order to see him grow up into a “man.” Young Mammilius tends to have this effect on everyone.
| Quote #2
OK, Polixenes has apparently been in Sicily for nine months, which is a long time for him to be away from his family and his kingdom. More importantly, nine months is the exact amount of time it takes for a baby to gestate, so it seems like Shakespeare is alerting us to the possibility that the pregnant Hermione could, technically speaking, be carrying Polixenes’s baby. (She’s not.) While there’s no evidence of infidelity, we know that the timing of Polixenes’s visit probably plays into Leontes fears that his wife and BFF have been fooling around.
| Quote #3
We were, fair queen,
As Polixenes describes his childhood friendship with Leontes, he suggests that they seemed to live in a world where time stood still and boyhood seemed “eternal.” As an adult, however, Leontes will become acutely aware of time’s progression – he’ll suffer for sixteen long years before being reunited with his family.