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Othello and King Leontes

Othello and King Leontes are compared in terms of how they experience the truth. What happened with each that is similar in the way Shakespeare did it? What is different? What possible reason could Shakespeare have had for doing each the way he did?

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Please feel free to use some of these brainstorming notes within your answer:

In terms of similarities within both characters' imagined infidelities and moments of discovery of truth, both characters exhibit moments of self awareness or truth about their deep jealousies and how these emotions caused downfalls or tragic effects. Both characters recognize how their thoughts and actions caused tragic consequences, particularly deaths, in terms of their false accusations. Both characters also experience loss of loved ones or family members as a result of their jealousies.

Similarly, Leontes also faces deadly consequences when he learns the truth. For example, reports that Prince Mamillius died from anguish over his jailed mother impact Leontes. He finally acknowledges that the deadly events occur from his imagination. He is able to see the role of his jealousy within the cause/effect situations.

When looking at differences, please note that Othello cannot admit his role in the tragedies. Instead, he offers a more direct use of jealousy and mania in the moments of discovery. He does not show guilt as much as Leontes does or even remorse. Another difference is that Iago, another character, influences Othello in his rage; whereas Leonte's rage is self imposed.

Another difference is that Othello shows more paranoia. He also seems to possess a basic distrust of everyone. Leontes' imagined suspicions focus more on his suspicions about Hermione and the legitimacy of his daughter. In short, another difference is that Leontes' jealous seems temporary, but Othello's madness ...

Solution Summary

Character comparisons are drawn.

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