Trace The Jealousy Of Leontes As It Progresses Throughout Act 1 Scene 2 With Close Reference To Language Analysis.

1919 words - 8 pages

At the beginning of act 1, Polixenes proclaims his intent to return home. He has been staying as a guest in the court of Leontes for 'nine changes of the watery star' (nine months), and he worries that troubles may start at home if he stays away much longer. Leontes tries, without any success, to persuade Polixenes to stay a short while longer. At Leontes' request, Hermione attempts to convince Polixenes to stay. She is powerful and very persuasive, and Polixenes gives in to her. She then asks to hear stories from the kings' boyhood days together and Polixenes paints a picture of innocence and pure friendship in days before the two men knew anything of women. Hermione is extremely affectionate toward Polixenes, treating him with great love because he is her husband's best and oldest friend. Seeing Hermione being so affectionate toward Polixenes causes suspicion to arise in Leontes' mind. In asides to the audience, he reveals that he is intensely jealous of Polixenes and Hermione.In Act 1 scene 1 the reader is familiarizing themselves with the characters and their personalities. However, even at this early point in the play the main themes are developing quite quickly. In Act 1 scene 2 Leontes is constantly becoming more jealous of the relationship he believes is happening between Hermione and Polixenes, suspecting their every action toward each other: 'Art thou my boy?' Here Leontes is even questioning whether Mamilius is his own son. This questioning of his own son's birth parents already shows signs that Leontes suspects Polixenes and Hermione of more than just a relationship. In Leontes' eyes Hermione and Polixenes seem so friendly towards each other, that he suspects they have made love i.e. committed adultery. His suspicion is so strong that he feels hot: 'Too hot! Too hot!', meaning their relationship is too hot for just friends. 'I have tremor cordis on me,' Leontes here is physically shaking in rage, as such is the extent of his jealousy. Even at this early stage of Leontes' jealousy there is a lot of evidence that Leontes's hasty thoughts and suspicions could result in disaster for his people, kingdom and his family. Later on Leontes speaks of his certainty that the two are having an affair,' they mother plays', 'paddling palms and pinching fingers' indicating sexual misbehavior and 'Inch-thick, knee-deep, o'er head and ears a forked one!' here Leontes states how they are both wading more deeply into sin, and the reference to forked ears is a reference to himself as a cuckold. Leontes tries to cath Hermione out by fishing for compliments, So we can see here Leontes seems to be completely convinced himself that there is a relationship between the two and the reader can see the possibility of him losing his mind completely. 'O that is entertainment / My bosom likes it not, nor my brows!'In Leontes's speech to his son after Polixenes and Hermione have left, he uses various sexual references to accuse her of adultery; 'thy mother plays, and...

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