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The Winter’s Tale Jealousy Quotes

How we cite our quotes: Citations follow this format: (Act.Scene.Line). Line numbers correspond to the Norton edition.

Quote #10

Dost think I am so muddy, so unsettled,
To appoint myself in this vexation, sully
The purity and whiteness of my sheets,
Which to preserve is sleep, which being spotted
Is goads, thorns, nettles, tails of wasps, (1.2.33)

Leontes’s insistence that he wouldn’t “sully the purity and whiteness of his sheets [marriage bed]” by wrongly accusing his wife of infidelity seems to echo Shakespeare’s earlier play, Othello. In the play, Othello goes on and on about how his wife, Desdemona, has been “sullied” by her sexual infidelity and decides that it would be “just” to strangle her on their soiled marriage bed (4.1.39). Both Othello and Leontes, as we’ve said earlier, unfairly accuse their wives of cheating.

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