The Winter's Tale Acts II - III

Wednesday, September 14, 2011
So those of you who haven't read Justin's comment on my last post should. He brought up a great point about Shakespeare's characterization of Leontes. This made me start thinking of Leontes and I wondered what could possibly convince Shakespeare to create such a character. It seems like Leontes' character fails to be the believable human being that Shakespeare is known for - the ones that we can all relate to as we see their inward struggles and challenges.

Leontes seems to have no inward struggles. He is quick to blame and sticks with his anger. Imagine what would've happened had Hamlet been like this. He would've killed Claudius whether he was the real murderer or not. Then the play would end by Act II. I think that Shakespeare's point in this is to say how blinded we can be in our anger and jealousy that we could become a being like Leontes, who through his anger becomes less like a true character. I believe that Shakespeare is trying to show that true character is built through thoughts and reason.


  1. Kubrick said...:

    I think you might be right. Another thought I had while reading this post and Justin's comment, though, was the drama of Shakespeare's decision. You're right, Leontes's character is preposterous. But, it brings out a lot of emotion. Think about how we feel when someone we know does something so unbelievable and contrary to reason. It illicits a rather emotional response from us. While I agree that Shakespeare must have something up his sleeve with this (perhaps he is trying to teach us something, as you pointed out), I can't help but notice the dramatic asset that he has created in Leontes. Imagine the audience reaction.

  1. Kubrick said...:

    Also, I think this idea of Leontes bringing out a very emotional and dramatic response from the audience is greatly played up in Act II Scene 3. Now, we have Paulina, who is a personification of what is likely the response of most of the audience. I think that this scene could really get the audience going. And suddenly give everyone a favorite character: Paulina.

  1. Justin Walter said...:

    I have to agree with Austin on Leontes' madness appealing to the audience. I can see this very easily in Hermione's trial, where Leontes continues to make accusations at her despite her calm and rational protests of innocence. Maybe Shakespeare is trying to get people to notice their irrational behavior with an extreme example.

  1. Mason said...:

    I don't know if I would call him mad. Immature, insecure, yes. There just isn't any reason for him to go crazy so quick. Maybe he suffers from seasonal affective disorder and the winter days are getting to him.

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