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In The Winter's Tale, what does Leontes's conversation with Camillo in Act I, Scene II,...

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hbanana | Student, Undergraduate | eNoter

Posted October 1, 2011 at 3:01 AM via web

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In The Winter's Tale, what does Leontes's conversation with Camillo in Act I, Scene II, reveal about Leontes's state of mind?

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accessteacher | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted October 2, 2011 at 7:45 PM (Answer #1)

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It is clear that this section of Act I scene 2 serves to highlight the obsessional thinking of Leontes. Anything that Camillo says is taken as further proof of his wife's infidelity, and even Camillo's logical reasoning is ignored and taken as a sign of a betrayal. Leontes is presented as being so consumed by jealousy that every proof of his wife's fidelity and love towards him is warped to fit his view of the world and his stubborn belief that he has been cuckolded. Most telling is the way that he changes his view of Camillo, his loyal advisor, because he insists on telling the truth. Note the following quote:

I have trusted thee, Camillo,

With all the nearest things to my heart, as well

My chamber councils, wherein, priest-like, thou

Hast cleansed my bosom. I from thee departed

Thy penitent reform'd: but we have been

Deceived in thy integiry, deceived

In that which seems so.

Note the way in which it is easier for Leontes to believe that Camillo is now not to be trusted and is a person of no "integrity" than it is to believe that Camillo is actually right and his wife has not betrayed him. Leontes is presented as being so consumed with jealousy and his thoughts of how his wife has cuckolded him that he is blind even to the advice and wisdom of his most trusted advisor.

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