The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 11.1852 Monday, 2 October 2000.
Date: Friday, 29 Sep 2000 11:51:53 -0500
Subject: 11.1843 Leontes - Thanks to All
Comment: Re: SHK 11.1843 Leontes - Thanks to All
Ah yes. The passage, in Book Four, reads:
"But' I said, 'I once heard a story which I believe, that Leontius the
son of Aglaion, on his way up from the Peiraeus under the outer side of
the northern wall, becoming aware of dead bodies that lay at the place
of public execution at the same time felt a desire to see them and a
repugnance and aversion, and that for a time he resisted and veiled his
head, but overpowered in despite of all by his desire, with wide staring
eyes he rushed up to the corpses and cried, There, ye wretches, take
your fill of the fine spectacle!' "
But here the man isn't called Leontes, and this isn't exactly
necrophilia, at least not in our nasty modern sense of the term. I
suppose one could make the case for his anger and his desire being
directed at odds as a sort of version of Leontes' difficulties, though
Socrates' point here is that this is a specifically noble and
reason-supporting form of "thumos", a sort of just indignation at the
baseness of his own desires. Leontes, perhaps, tries to adopt this
posture towards Hermione (as does Othello), yet everyone around him sees
its spuriousness quite clearly.
If you're looking into the characters' names, don't forget the essay in
the back of Pafford's Arden edition of the play.