Winter’s Tale by Ros King and William Shakespeare. Character Analysis (leontes)
Character Analysis of Leontes
Throughout A Winter’s Tale Leontes goes from a calm, loving husband into a jealous tyrant by the end. He eventually realizes his mistakes and is grateful when what he did wrong was fixed. “Thou shouldst a husband take by my consent, / As I by thine a wife: this is a match, / And made between’s by vows.(V.iii)” But the way he acted in the first couple acts of the play seemed to completely destroy the things most important to him; his family and his closest friends.
Because Leontes is jealous he le ads himself to believe that Hermione has committed adultery. Leontes begins to go mad because of this and makes an impulsive decision to have his wife and their child she just had to be killed. “Your actions are my dreams; / You had a bastard by Polixenes, / And I but dream’d it. (III.i)” The onset of his anger is very fast, going from calm to accusing very quickly. His anger and jealousy cause him to manufacture affection between his wife and Polixenes in his mind. He translates all their small polite gestures to each other as more proof of their affair to each other.
Leontes frequently stereotypes all women in general as being unfaithful and promiscuous by nature. It explains his distrust of his wife and why he so easily assumes Hermione has cheated on him with his best friend. He frequently describes women as being easily influenced to cheat on the person they are in a relationship with. “No barricado for a belly; know’t; / It will let in and out the enemy / With bag and baggage: many thousand on’s / Have the disease, and feel’t not. How now, boy! (I.ii)” Since he considers all women to be dishonest and not worth trusting, therefore his wife must be too, by hi s logic.
At the end of the play Leontes realizes that despite his mistake, especially with his son Mamillius, who was not brought back at the end of the play along with his wife and daughter. He still got Hermione and Perdita. He is able to forgive himself and be forgiven by the people around him. His character has changed significantly throughout the play. From calm to deranged and finally to accepting, yet regretful by the end of th e play.
Overall Leontes is a complicated character. He changes frequently throughout the play and makes decisions too quickly sometimes and is too jealous and mistrustful of his wife. Only out of luck were his wife and daughter not killed because of his rash decisions. He realizes, even though he was responsible for his son’s death, in the end he still got Hermione and Perdita back.
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