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Leontes - Jealous Tyrant or Moving Figure?

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Introduction

Leontes - Jealous Tyrant or Moving Figure? Jealousy is in our human nature and Shakespeare's The Winters Tale shows the pure destructive power that it can hold. We see in The Winters Tale how fickle the minds of powerful people can be and how simple acts can be misconstrued. The first example of this, and the first point towards Leontes being a jealous tyrant is in Act 1 Scene 2 where Leontes states "Too hot, too hot!" commenting on the alleged sexual tension between Hermione and Polixenes 'Paddling palms and pinching fingers'. The plosives in this sentence show the utter anger and disgust he carries over nothing but simple friendship and shows us how sudden an 'infection' can be. The jealousy that Leontes feels is coupled with sense of paranoia believing that everybody is 'whispering' around him and also states that his heart 'dances, but not for joy' giving us a glimpse into what his feelings are at that moment. ...read more.

Middle

This way of speech and the constant barrage of insults is met with rational thinking from Hermione, seemingly showing us the irrationalness of Leontes that a woman, who would be very low in knowledge and power in Shakespearian times is more virtuous than 'God's emissary'. Personally I believe that Leontes does show the general traits of being a jealous tyrant, such as the misuse of power and threat of death, giving his 'enemy an lasting wink'. But he isn't a generic tyrant, as he instantly regrets what he has done leading me to believe that personally he isn't a bad person, just quick to judge. The view that the audience understands and is able to engage with Leontes is also a valid argument in the sense that Leontes presents a wide variety of emotions and experiences to the audience. This relates to the audience as most of them will have shared these very same feeling in their lives. ...read more.

Conclusion

This thought impacts with the audience as some will agree with the ending, that he did enough in the sixteen years to find a new appreciation and love towards them. Whereas the other half of the audience will disagree, and believe that he is still a murderer and doesn't deserve any forgiveness. But none the less he will still manage to move the audience. Altogether I believe that Leontes does have an impact on the audience whether or not you feel the ending was good or not. I believe that Leontes has a momentary lapse of judgement and paid for it with everything, and this personally moves me to believe that he should have some closure in his grief. I also believe that the audience will recognise he is a jealous tyrant that deserved what he got but no matter what the audience's beliefs of the ending is that it will always move the audience in either love or hate, therefore succeeding in a character. ...read more.

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