| Quote #4
When prompted, Polixenes says that, yes, he and his wife love their son (Florizel) just as Leontes loves Mammilius. What’s interesting to us about this passage is how Polixenes says his boy “cures in [him] thoughts that would thick [his] blood.” Polixenes, of course, means the child makes him happy and keeps bad thoughts at bay. His use of the word “cures” also suggests that the child keeps him young and healthy. (We’ve seen a similar idea at 1.1.5, above.) At the same time, Polixenes also implies the kid is a bit of a handful – so much so that he makes it seem like time is flying by (a summer day seems “short as [a] December” day), which draws our attention to the fact that Polixenes is aging.
| Quote #5
It is yours;
Here, Paulina uses a printing press metaphor to describe how Perdita looks like an exact, albeit “little,” “copy” of her father, Leontes. Unfortunately, Leontes refuses to acknowledge this proof of his paternity – he orders Antigonus to ditch the child in the middle of the desert.
| Quote #6
Heavy matters! heavy matters! but look thee here,
Here, the Old Shepherd gets all “Lion King circle of life” on us. He remarks that, at the exact moment he stumbled across the abandoned baby (Perdita), his son witnessed the death of old Antigonus (who was eaten by a bear). This reminds the audience that, even though an old man (Antigonus) has died, the discovery of a newborn baby promises the renewal and continuity of life.