"From Sanity To Madness In 350 Lines?" Explore The Presentation Of Leontes, Referring Closely To Language And Imagery.

648 words - 3 pages

When the audience first meet Leontes at the beginning of Act 1 Scene 2, he seems to show very little sign of jealousy towards Polixenes, referring to him as 'brother' but by the time of his exit on line 350 has asked Camillo to 'give mine enemy a lasting wink'As the scene opens, Leontes tries to convince Polixenes to stay in Sicilia longer, 'One sev'night longer' and the way he repeats this suggests that he is sincere in asking Polixenes to stay, rather than simply being courteous. When Polixenes refuses his request and says he will leave 'tomorrow' Leontes again presses him to stay saying they should compromise and 'part the time between' them. At this point Leontes seems neither hostile towards Polixenes nor suspicious of a relationship between him and Hermione and, a few lines later invites Hermione to speak, 'Tongue tied our queen? Speak you.' Leontes invites Hermione to speak freely to Polixenes and asks her to help him convince Polixenes to stay. It seems very unlikely that Leontes would have deliberately encouraged them to speak freely or be alone together, as he leaves the stage a few lines later, if he suspected them to be having an adulterous relationship.However, Leontes could easily have already been suspicious of the relationship between Polixenes and Hermione and, after Polixenes not agreeing to stay for him, be testing to see if he will agree for Hermione.When Leontes reappears on stage after Hermione and Polixenes conversation he immediately asks his wife, 'Is he won yet?' and, on Hermione's reply of, 'he'll stay, my lord' remarks, 'At my request he would not'. This is the first obvious sign that Leontes is jealous of Hermione's relationship with Polixenes, but he quickly rectifies his bitterness, saying, 'Hermione, my dearest, thou never spok'st to better purpose'. This could easily be read as Leontes being suddenly very nice to Hermione, attempting to compensate for his earlier remark....

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