Quotes

The Winter’s Tale/#1/Quotes and Answers

Quote: “They would be content to die if there were no other excuse why they should
desire to live.”

Answer: Act 1, Scene 1, Lines 44-46.  Camillo to Archidamus.  Leontes is the king of Sicilia. Polixenes is the king of Bohemia. These two kings have been friends since childhood. Archidamus, a Bohemian courtier, has just offered glowing praise for Mamillius, Leontes’ only son. Camillo, a courtier to the king of Sicilia, backs up the comments made by Archidamus, saying “They that went on crutches before he was born desire yet their life to see him a man.” Camillo offers this quote. All seem to believe that Mamillius is an outstanding young man. Continuing to fall over himself with praise for Leontes, Mamillius, and his fellow countrymen, Archidamus says “If the King had no son, they would desire to live on crutches till he had one.”

The Winter’s Tale/#2/Quotes and Answers

Quote: “We were two lads who thought there was no more in the future but such a day
tomorrow as today, and to be boys eternal.”

Answer: Act 1, Scene 2, Lines 79-82.  Polixenes to Hermione.  Hermione is Leontes’ wife, his queen. Supporting her husband, as she always seems to do, Hermione has been trying to get Polixenes to stay in Sicilia a week longer. Polixenes has been in Sicilia for some time, visiting his long-time friend Leontes. Hermione plays all-the-good-times-in-the-past card, saying “tell me of my lord’s tricks and yours when you were boys.” Polixenes offers this quote. But in spite of her insistence, he is determined to quickly return to Bohemia. Polixenes has business to tend to in Bohemia.

The Winter’s Tale/#3/Quotes and Answers

Quote: “One good deed dying not spoken of kills a thousand accompanying it.  Our praises are our wages.”

Answer: Act 1, Scene 2, Lines 118-120.  Hermione to Leontes.  Leontes praises his wife’s effort to encourage Polixenes to extend his stay in Sicilia. He says “once before you spoke to better purpose.” The two of them, happy as can be to have Polixenes there in Sicilia, joke with each other, Hermione responding to his comment, by saying “not twice; not more than twice?” She says “Cram us with praise, and make us as fat as tame things.” She then offers this quote. She asks “what was the first time I spoke to better purpose?” He says when “thou didst utter I am yours forever.” Life seems to be good between them.

The Winter’s Tale/#4/Quotes and Answers

Quote: “I may be negligent, foolish and fearful.
These are such infirmities that honesty is never free of.”

Answer: Act 1, Scene 2, Lines 310-325.  Camillo to Leontes.  Hermione has persuaded Polixenes to stay in Sicilia for another week. But Leontes has now become jealous, believing that Hermione in her persuasive efforts has been paying too much attention to Polixenes. Now convinced that Hermione and Polixenes are more than just friends, believing she has had a “too close relationship” with Polixenes, Leontes lashes out at his aide, Camillo, for not seeing what Leontes now believes is her infidelity. Camillo doesn’t quite know how to respond to Leontes, offering this quote as his defense.

The Winter’s Tale/#5/Quotes and Answers

Quote: “Do not weep, good friends; there is no cause.
When you shall know your mistress has deserved prison, then abound in
tears as I come out.”

Answer: Act 2, Scene 1, Lines 141-146.  Hermione to her Ladies.  An irrational Leontes, believing Polixenes to be the cause of Hermione’s pregnancy, sends his wife to prison. Hermione remains calm, pretty much limiting her comments to her ladies, requesting that they attend her in prison to help her during her late stage pregnancy. She offers this quote.

The Winter’s Tale/#6/Quotes and Answers

Quote: “Often, the silence of pure innocence persuades when speaking fails.”

Answer: Act 2, Scene 2, Lines 50-51.  Paulina to Emilia.  Knowing the king is very upset with Hermione, imprisoning her, Paulina, one of the queen’s ladies-in-waiting, offers to tell Leontes of the birth of their daughter, hoping she can “prove honey-mouthed” and reduce the tension between the two of them. Paulina says “We do not know how he may soften at the sight o’ th’ child.” Paulina offers this quote. Emilia is another lady-in-waiting. Paulina is unaware that Leontes believes Polixenes is the child’s father.

The Winter’s Tale/#7/Quotes and Answers

Quote: “It is the heretic that makes the fire, not she who burns in ‘t.”

Answer: Act 2, Scene 3, Lines 148-149.  Paulina to Leontes.  Paulina has just told the king at length how much the child looks like him, saying “the print be little, the whole matter and copy of the father.” She continues to describe in detail how the two look alike. Leontes will have none of it. He says “I’ll have thee burnt.” She says “I care not” and offers this quote.

The Winter’s Tale/#8/Quotes and Answers

Quote: “Some powerful spirit instruct the hawks and ravens to be thy nurses.”

Answer: Act 2, Scene 3, Lines 227-228.  Antigonus to Hermione’s baby daughter. Leontes has just commanded Antigonus, another of the king’s courtiers, to take the child to some remote desert out-back in Bohemia and to leave the baby there. Antigonus, having agreed to do anything to save the child from being burned, having really no other option, agrees to the command. He picks up the child and offers this prayer. Antigonus and Paulina are husband and wife.

The Winter’s Tale/#9/Quotes and Answers

Quote: “If powers divine behold our human actions, as they do, I doubt not then but
innocence shall make false accusation blush and tyranny tremble at suffering
endured with calmness.”

Answer: Act 3, Scene 2, Lines 29-33.  Hermione to the Court.  The court’s indictment has read that she committed adultery with Polixenes and conspired with Camillo to take away the life of her husband, Leontes. Leontes has been outspokenly nasty. Hermione was unnaturally composed as she listened to the accusations. The queen offers this quote soon after the indictment is read.

The Winter’s Tale/#10/Quotes and Answers

Quote: “I’ve been immodestly denied the privilege of bed rest after childbirth, which
belongs to women of all fashion,”

Answer: Act 3, Scene 2, Lines 110-111.  Hermione to Leontes.  In open court, Leontes has just accused his wife of being “past all shame; that her child “hath been cast out;” and that she faces “no less than death.” Hermione has told him to “spare your threats” and that she has given up the benefit of life as lost. She offers the court this quote, among others.