Shakespeare’s Perdita

Perdita is an abandoned child in William Shakespeare's "The Winter's Tale" who is rescued by shepherds. (detail of a painting by A. F.  Sandys 1829-1904)“Perdita,” by A. F. Sandys (1829-1904). 

The Winter’s Tale

  • In the final scene, in the only words spoken by Hermione, we learn that it was the hope of seeing her lost child which gave Hermione the will to live:

Perdita is indeed as welcome ‘as is the spring to the earth’. She represents hope – the hope of spiritual regeneration and renewal.

“Where hast thou been preserved? where liv’d? how found

Thy Father’s court? For thou shalt hear that I,

Knowing by Paulina that the Oracle

Gave hope thou wast in being, have preserv’d

Myself to see the issue.”

—Queen Hermione

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