Passage of Lines 173-200 in Act III Scene II from “The Winter’s Tale” by Shakespeare

This essay deals with an analysis of a passage from Shakespeare’s work Winter’s tale. By means of the consistent analysis of idioms, metaphors, allegories, and other expressive tools use in this passage, a conclusion will be made on the specificity of Shakespeare’s writing and a greater idea of the passage.

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The main question addressed in the current essay goes as follows: Why Shakespeare used namely these words but not others, and how did he structurally form their utilization. The passage is mainly included Leontes’s monologue but with a wide scope of allusions that help to reveal the importance of this episode and its role in the entire comedy.

Leontes speaks about tragic events which followed his suspicion that his wife committed adultery with his old friend Polixenes. He sent his friend Camilllio to poison Polixenes, but fortunately, this plot was unrealized because of Camilllio’s voluntarism. Leontes was so outrageous in his jealousy that he sought that his own son was a bastard and even defied the oracle who soothsaid that Hermione was innocent.

As a result of all these events, she became increasingly sick and on the brink of death. Leontes now realizes his fault and wrongdoings that led to tragic consequences. He says to his servants referring to Hermione: Take her hence:/ Her heart is but overcharged; she will recover:/ I have too much-believed mine own suspicion: / Beseech you, tenderly apply to her/ Some remedies for life. It is evident from this passage that Leontes feels that all that he has done is stupid and destructive for his family.

He too much believed his own suspicions and didn’t rely on common sense, reason, and on what the oracle said about his wife’s innocence. He tries to correct his mistakes by showing his love and care for his wife. Besides this, Leontes hopes that all will change for the better.

After the ladies exit with Paulina and Hermione, Leontes continues his monologue in the same vein as before. Here Shakespeare intentionally puts emphasis on such phrases and words that show Leontes great repentance and confusion with the severity of the situation which he created. He continues to blame himself for his baseless suspicion and outrageous behavior. By referring to the earlier episodes and plot of this comedy, Shakespeare helps us restore the sequence of deeds and events that led to this difficult and tragicomic situation.

Leontes apologies for his brutal behavior in relation to the oracle who soothsaid that his wife and friend didn’t engage in some adulterous relations: ‘Apollo, pardon/My great profaneness ‘gainst thine oracle!’.

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Furthermore, Leontes promises to reconcile himself with Polixenes, who he wanted to poison because of his suspicion, and his friend Camillo whom he sent to Polixenes to realize this plan but who refused to become a killer of honorable man: ‘New woo my queen, recall the good Camillo,/ Whom I proclaim a man of truth, of mercy; /For, being transported by my jealousies / To bloody thoughts and to revenge, I chose /Camillo for the minister to poison /My friend Polixenes: which had been done/ But that the good mind of Camillo tarried / My swift command, though I with death and with / Reward did threaten and encourage him.’

These abstracts show that Camillo is a noble person who, even under threat to his life in the case of refusal to commit a malicious crime, made his own honorable decision and avoided unjust actions. Leontes only now realizes how unjust he was for this truthful and nobleman who helped prevent some other tragic events. Shakespeare utilizes here a very beautiful expressive comparison of Leontes crimes and Camillo moral purity, which makes Leontes sufferings even more pronounced. He says that not realizing this ugly plan, he does himself as a real nobleman: ‘Not doing ‘t and being done: he, most humane/ And filled with honor, to my kingly guest. Leontes says that it is a great braveness to violate king’s orders, but notwithstanding all risks and hazards associated with it, Camillo acted according to his moral principles: ‘Unclasp’d my practice, quit his fortunes here/ Which you knew great, and to the hazard / Of all uncertainties himself commended’.

But all these hazards, as Leontes now understand, were barriers for truth and justice and were unjust manifestations of his royal egoism and despotic willfulness which are ‘ No richer than his honor: how he glisters Thorough my rust!’ Now Leontes understands that all his unjust plans and actions are in great contrast with Camillo’s honorable behavior and compassion to a poor king who suffers so much: ‘and how his pity Does my deeds make the blacker!

Thus, as the current essay shows, this passage is interesting in terms of words, idioms, and phrases Shakespeare uses to describe the inner world and psychological tensions of Leontes. It is important to note that Shakespeare’s utilization of the abovementioned images helps reveal deep feelings and emotional experiences of protagonists and is structurally well-organized.

This passage is very concrete in the description of Leonte’s feelings after he found out that his suspicions were misguided. Moreover, by using accurate and expressive metaphors, Shakespeare helps his readers understanding the nature of Leontes’s character. Notwithstanding the fact that he made many mistakes, he is a deeply compassionate and kind man who can recognize his fault. Hence, his personality may be described as double-ended on the one side, it is contaminated by royal egoism and despotism, and on the other is honorable and openhearted.

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"Passage of Lines 173-200 in Act III Scene II from “The Winter’s Tale” by Shakespeare." StudyCorgi, 28 Aug. 2021,

1. StudyCorgi. "Passage of Lines 173-200 in Act III Scene II from “The Winter’s Tale” by Shakespeare." August 28, 2021.


StudyCorgi. "Passage of Lines 173-200 in Act III Scene II from “The Winter’s Tale” by Shakespeare." August 28, 2021.


StudyCorgi. 2021. "Passage of Lines 173-200 in Act III Scene II from “The Winter’s Tale” by Shakespeare." August 28, 2021.


StudyCorgi. (2021) 'Passage of Lines 173-200 in Act III Scene II from “The Winter’s Tale” by Shakespeare'. 28 August.

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