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    Reoccurring themes in Othello and The Winter's Tale

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    What similarities exist in the imagined infidelities that Othello and Leontes believe occurred with their "adulterous" wives?

    What differences exist?

    How did each of these imagined infidelities lead to a tragedy of some sort?

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    Here are some plot summaries to consider:
    The Winter's Tale Play

    The Winter's Tale begins with Polixenes, the King of Bohemia, deciding to return home to Bohemia after visting his old friend Leontes in Sicily. Leontes, the King of Sicily, wants Polixenes to stay a little longer, asking Polixenes' beautiful wife Hermione to convince him to stay. This backfires quite badly since Leontes now believes his wife may be having an affair with Polixenes, after all, she was able to convince him to stay... Overcome with jealousy, Leontes prepares to poison Polixenes, even beginning to doubt whether he is the true father of his son Mamillius.... Camillo, ordered to poison Polixenes and aware of what Leontes is capable of, convinces Polixenes to flee, the two heading for Bohemia. Leontes jealousy has not abated however, Leontes quickly putting his wife in jail and preparing to make her stand trial for infidelity.

    Hermione gives birth to her daughter in jail whilst awaiting trial, the baby being shown to Leontes in the hope Leontes will finally see reason. Leontes though, thinking the child may not be his, does not acknowledge the child, disowning her and then ordering Antigonus to leave the baby on the far off coast of Bohemia to die... Following Leontes' orders, the baby is duly placed on the coastline to die, Antigonus being eaten by a bear shortly thereafter... The trial of Hermione continues. The Delphic Oracle's judgement in the trial is that Hermione is innocent but this falls on Leontes' deaf ears, the trial continuing despite judgement being given. Overcome by grief for his mother, Mamillius, Leontes and Hermiones' only son, dies. Leontes now begins to realise just how much he has lost, ordering that Hermione be treated with care upon leaving the courtroom but soon she too dies. Overcome with guilt and remorse for what he has done, Leontes now shuts himself off from society...

    The child Leontes would not acknowledge, however, has not died; a shepard finds the little baby, taking her in and raising her as if his very own. Sixteen years pass and the abandoned daughter, Perdita, falls for Polixenes' son Florizel. Polixenes disapproves of his son loving the daughter of a shepard, after all, Florizel is a Prince. Camillo, seeing the two in love, helps the two lovers escape for Sicily where the two are warmly received at the court of Leontes. Polixenes and the shepard soon arrive, Leontes finally making peace with his old friend. Perdita is soon revealed tby the shepard to be Leontes' daughter overjoying Leontes and Polixenes since their two children shall soon marry. Leontes, however in seeing the beautiful Perdita is reminded of Hermione, her death and how badly he treated her...

    Paulina, Hermione's maid who reported Hermione's death, leads Leontes, Perdita and company to see a statue of Hermione. It is no statue... They see Hermione, alive and well! We quickly learn that Queen Hermione has simply lived in hiding, praying for the return of her daughter one day. Leontes family is now reunited with the return of Hermione and Perdita. Leontes, deeply appreciative of everything they have Camillo and Paulina have done for his family, allows the two to marry...

    Othello Summary

    Act I.

    Shakespeare's famous play of love turned bad by unfounded jealousy, begins in Venice with Iago, a soldier under Othello's command arguing with Roderigo, a wealthy Venetian. Roderigo has paid Iago a considerable sum of money to spy on Othello for him, since he wishes to take Othello's girlfriend, Desdemona as his own.

    Roderigo fears that Iago has not been telling him enough about Desdemona and that this proves Iago's real loyalty is to Othello not him.

    Iago explains his hatred of Othello for choosing Cassio as his officer or lieutenant and not him as he expected.

    To regain Roderigo's trust, Iago and Roderigo inform Brabantio, Desdemona's father of her relationship with Othello, the "Moor" which enrages Brabantio into sending parties out at night to apprehend Othello for what must obviously be in Brabantio's eyes, an abuse of his daughter by Othello...

    Iago lies that Roderigo and not himself, was responsible for angering Brabantio against Othello, Iago telling Othello that he should watch out for Brabantio's men who are looking for him.

    Othello decides not to hide, since he believes his good name will stand him in good stead.

    We ...

    Solution Summary

    Reoccurring themes in Othello and The Winter's Tale are noted and discussed in the solution.