The Winter's Tale Characters

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Leontes

Leontes is the Sicilian king. He is the husband of Hermione and father of Perdita and Mamillius. Leontes is very happy as the story opens because his best friend, King Polixenes of Bohemia, is visiting. When Polixenes declares that he has to return to his home, Leontes pleads with him to stay, but Polixenes insists. Then, Hermione begs him to stay another week and he gives in. Leontes takes that as a sign that there is something more than friendship between Polixenes and Hermione. He flies into a jealous rage and plots to murder Polixenes for this imagined crime.

Leontes is unable to think rationally because he is a loyal person, unable to tolerate the idea of disloyalty in others. When Leontes reads the words of the god Apollo and realizes that he has made a mistake, he is heartbroken.

There is no indication of Leontes’ actions during...

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This section contains 1,245 words
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Buy The Winter's Tale Study Guide
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