Summary: In this article, Susan Snyder writes about the importance of the character Mamillius in the Winter’s Tale. Mamillius is Leontes and Hermione’s son present only in the beginning of the play. Mamillius is only seen in two scenes but is a prominent figure throughout the play and a very important key to the plot. When it comes to his age there are some questions. He is usually played by a older actor but there are several clues leadings us to believe he is closer to fiver years old. At the time we get to know Mamillius he is still living in the nursery and therefore has a very strong connection to his mother. This explains why Mamillius suffered in such a great way when his mother was going through accusations. Although Leontes assumes Mamillius’ sickness is due to the fact that he knows his mothers has been an adulterer, it is more so because of his strong connection with his mother, the poor state she is in and the fact that he has been taken away from her.
Comments: This article helped me understand Mamillius death a great deal better. As I was reading and watching the play I wasn’t sure why he died so quickly, why his demise was immediate. However, as I think of small children and the way they depend on their mothers, I can see why his health would deteriorate so rapidly. The grief of his mother and their separation from each other because of his father led to this young boys decline. It was not his acceptance of his mothers supposed adultery, like his father assumed.