A Fragile Equilibrium
When a husband is transformed under the irrational spell of jealousy, he is driven to lose all control.
The Winter's Tale (Modern Library Classics)
by William Shakespeare
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Jealousy may be the closest a sane person can get to the experience of psychosis. I'm referring to the kind of florid, full-blown jealousy that strikes poor, enraged Leontes in The Winter's Tale—a jealousy that leads to complete ruin. It is sometimes confused with envy, but the difference is fundamental: With envy you want to possess what the other person has—money, power, beauty, fame—whereas with jealousy you want to possess the actual person. Its true cousin is paranoia; both are anchored in a kind of warped, iron-clad logic. The thrill of jealousy, like that of paranoia, is that every sign and gesture, threatening or joyous, proves the central obsession, with a reasonableness that throws into question the very meaning of "reason." The mind narrows, and a kind of inspired imbecility ensues.
In The Winter's Tale
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