Ludicrous Leontes

When reading Act 1 of “A Winters Tale” for the first time I was utterly confused by the sudden change in character from Leontes. At the beginning of Act 1 Scene 2, he has a heartwarming conversation with Polixenes. They were reminiscing about their childhood when there is a change in perspective as Hermione begins to speak. I was very confused by Leontes’ sudden change, It was as if he had gone mad within a matter of seconds.

I wonder what may have caused this change in perspective? At first, I assumed it may have been Leontes’ observation of the flirtatious conversation Hermione and Polixenes. However, if  Polixenes has been there for 9 months it is likely Leontes would have seen this before. I am curious if adaptations of this play have made Leontes see something out of the ordinary which changed his perspective? After reading the first two acts Leontes is strikingly similar to the Mad King from Game of Thrones. There was no clear reason why he went mad, however, it is what is accepted now.

I am curious to see if his madness continues and if there will be an explanation and or a cure?

1 comment

  1. I think you bring up an interesting point. Leontes’ shift was so unexpected, but we also don’t know how the past 9 months have been having Polixenes staying with them. Maybe this was the straw that broke the camel’s back? I wonder if we find out other information that would help explain his seemingly random outburst.

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