• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

A Winter's Tale - Why is Leontes so jealous of Hermione and Polixenes and why does he think they are having an affair?

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

Nick Magill 30/09/03 Why is Leontes so jealous of Hermione and Polixenes and why does he think they are having an affair? By the time Leontes has become certain his suspicions that his wife is having an affair are true he is undoubtedly in the grip of a mental illness. This is the main reason behind the development of his jealousy of Polixenes. Leontes and Polixenes have been close friends since an early age but Leontes seems to forget this friendship whilst jealousy takes him over as he think he is seeing his wife moving away from him. The problem, ironically, is started by Leontes. Leontes is desperate for Polixenes to stay longer with him in Sicily but Polixenes refuses on the grounds that he has a child back in Bohemia and that he must go home and be an active king again. Leontes fails to tempt Polixenes into staying an extra few weeks due to the blunt way in which he tries to persuade Polixenes. For example Leontes says simply "Stay your thanks a while, and pay them when you part" without making an effort at arguing why he would like Polixenes to stay. ...read more.

Middle

Leontes feels that this request has been taken too far by Hermione or perhaps he forgets he asked her to do it altogether. Leontes realises that Hermione and Polixenes' topics of conversation have perhaps become (or always were) quite intimate and sexual. Hermione talks about keeping Polixenes "prisoner, not like a guest" and Polixenes talks about "innocence". Hermione even refers to adultery in persuading Polixenes to stay when he wishes to leave. She says when describing Polixenes and Leontes' marriages that she hopes, "If you first sinn'd with us, and that with us You did continue fault, and that you slipp'd not With any but with us [Hermione and the wife of Polixenes]". Hermione in talking so candidly about this may have alerted Leontes to the possibly she is cheating on him. Later on Hermione comes across to me at least as sounding slightly sexual; especially in the way she talks about horses and kissing. She says to Polixenes and Leontes, "You may ride's with one soft kiss a thousand furlongs ere with spur we heat an acre". I think this tone in which she talks is sexual and could be construed by Leontes as being slightly flirtatious. ...read more.

Conclusion

If this was the case then I think she would have either fled her husband and home or let Leontes know that it was not his baby. The fact that she is eight months pregnant ties in with the arrival of Polixenes a month previous to her conceiving. This would make Leontes feel humiliated as he would have to assume that Polixenes and Hermione had been having an affair under his nose for the duration of her pregnancy; a full eight months. Leontes view that the two are having an affair is compounded further when Camillo, who he has told to poison Polixenes, appears to flee Sicily with Polixenes. This makes Leontes feel there is or has been a plot against him in which some of his own people are involved. Leontes mental state is obviously creating an illusion, which he feels he has evidence to back up. Leontes' natural paranoid mind creates the idea of his "pond fish'd by his next door neighbour". Leontes is isolating himself and turning himself into a victim therefore backing up the image in his mind that his wife is cheating on him. He creates the story in which his wife is having an affair and applies it to the real world. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level The Winter's Tale section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level The Winter's Tale essays

  1. How do relationships succeed or fail in the Winter's Tale?

    In the structure of the play, the third marriage we encounter is that of Perdita and Florizel - moving from the winter's court to the summer country. While the other two couples had been united for several years, we see a couple with intention to marry.

  2. "The Winter's Tale:" 'The Madness of Leontes appears with terrifying speed and threatens to ...

    Paulina, faithful friend to the queen, brings the baby to him in an attempt 'to purge him of that humour.'

  1. The painful moment when Polixenes forbids his son's marriage shows that although Bohemia is ...

    And to Perdita he says he will have her beauty scratch'd with briers and made more homely than her state, and he will devise a death as cruel for her as she is tender. The steadfastness of Florizel at this juncture is impressive, he has clearly wrecked matters with his

  2. Parenting is a main element of “The Winters Tale”. Discuss the contrast between Leontes, ...

    It is also where the play begins to change from a tragedy to a comedy. Leontes from this point guided by Paulina tries to show real repentance which pays off at the end of the play. At this point the reader believes Hermione to be dead and the parenting role of this part finishes.

  1. Examine Act 3 Scene 2 and consider its importance in the development of the ...

    Shakespeare's presentation of Leontes changes when Leontes hears that his wife and son are dead. Leontes appears to become clear-minded and completely resentful of his actions. At the end of Act 3 Scene 2, Leontes appears to be a broken man.

  2. Some critics have claimed that the structure of "The Winters Tale is clumsy - ...

    He uses animal imagery to display his anger "how now, you wanton calf!" and this displays his mercurial personality as just a few lines ago he was praising Polixenies, saying how good friends they are This is not how the audience would expect a king to react.

  1. An exploration of Shakespeare’s presentation of the different forms of love in 'The Winters ...

    Leontes has always viewed Hermione as a dutiful subject or possession and I believe his furious jealousy is a product of the type of love he has for her, rather than the result of an illness. By Act 5, when he has been grieving for Hermione, and his children, for

  2. Leontes - Jealous Tyrant or Moving Figure?

    This is a point to show his tyrannical ways, his misuse of power, how he throws the Queen of Sicilia into jail without any evidence of her doing wrong. He further insults her with comments such as 'bed-swerver'. This gives us the view that he is not entirely in his

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work