Trace the jealousy of Leontes as it progresses throughout Act 1 Scene 2 with close reference to language analysis.

Essay by ihaveabigbuttHigh School, 12th gradeA-, January 2005

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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...