The Winter's Tale contains Shakespeare's most famous and challenging stage direction: 'Exit, pursued by a bear'. Here are some more well-know quotes.

I speak as my understanding instructs me and as mine honesty puts it to utterance.
(Archidamus, Act 1 Scene 1)

How say you?
My prisoner? Or my guest? by your dread 'Verily',
One of them you shall be.
(Hermione, Act 1 Scene 2)

What we changed
Was innocence for innocence. We knew not
The doctrine of ill-doing, nor dreamed
That any did.
(Polixenes, Act 1 Scene 2)

Jo Stone-Fewings as Leontes, in a white shirt and black waistcoat, kneeling and holdings hands with Hermione, played by Tara Fitzgerald, also kneeling and wearing a wide patterned robe
A scene from the 2013 production of The Winter's Tale, directed by Lucy Bailey
Photo by Sheila Burnett © RSC Browse and license our images

Be plainer with me. Let me know my trespass
By its own visage; if I then deny it,
'Tis none of mine.
(Camillo, Act 1 Scene 2)

Is this nothing?
Why then the world and all that’s in’t is nothing:
The covering sky is nothing, Bohemia nothing,
My wife is nothing, nor nothing have these nothings,
If this be nothing.
(Leontes, Act 1 Scene 2)

The silence often of pure innocence
Persuades when speaking fails.
(Paulina, Act 2 Scene 2)

It shall scarce boot me
To say 'Not guilty': mine integrity
Being counted falsehood, shall, as I express it,
Be so received. But thus: 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 patience.
(Hermione, Act 3 Scene 2)

Apollo's angry, and the heavens themselves
Do strike at my injustice.
(Leontes, Act 3 Scene 2)

Exit, pursued by a bear.
(Stage direction, Act 3 Scene 3)

Since it is in my power
To o'erthrow law and in one self-born hour
To plant and o'erwhelm custom.
(Time, Act 4 Scene 1)

Ha, ha! What a fool honesty is! 
(Autolycus, Act 4 Scene 4)

Though I am not naturally honest, I am so sometimes by chance
(Autolycus, Act 4 Scene 4)

I am ashamed. Does not the stone rebuke me
For being more stone than it?
(Leontes, Act 5 Scene 3)

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