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Cymbeline | Shakespeare Unlocked

Cymbeline is one in every of Shakespeare’s lesser identified performs. Initially known as The Tragedie of Cymbeline, or Cymbeline King of Britain. Nonetheless trendy critics usually checklist it as a romance and generally even a comedy. Whereas its exact date or composition isn’t identified, it was most likely someday round 1609 and its first efficiency was nearly definitely by 1611 on the newest.


So this play takes place in Historic Britain, in the course of the Roman occupation. Cymbeline is the King of Britain, and about 20 years in the past two of his sons have been stolen from him by somebody known as Belarius, leaving him with one youngster, his daughter Imogen. Cymbeline discovers that Imogen has married her lover Posthumus in secret and banishes Posthumus, as a result of he feels that Imgoen being his solely inheritor, should produce an inheritor of her personal of full royal blood. In the meantime the Queen is conspiring to have her son from a earlier marriage, Clotten, marry Imogen, and to then poison her and King Cymbeline taking the throne for herself. She goes to the court docket physician to obtain what she thinks is poison, however is in reality a innocent sleeping potion switched out by the physician who’s suspicious of her. She passes the potion onto Imogen and Posthumus’ servant underneath the guise of drugs. Imogen, heartbroken, hides herself away in her chambers, and away from Clotten aggressive advances.

So Posthumus has been banished to Italy. Whereas there he meets Iachamo. Iachamo bets Posthumus that he can seduce Imogen and produce him again proof. If he wins he will get Posthumus marriage ceremony bracelet and if he loses he has to pay Posthumus and battle him in a duel. And so he goes to Britain the place he aggressively tries to seduce Imogen who strongly shuts him down, and sends him packing. So Iachamo hides in a chest in Imogen’s chamber and waits for her to sleep. As soon as she’s sleeping he comes out, takes the bracelet and takes notes of the mole on Imogen’s chest as proof that he received the wager. Returning to Rome he manages to persuade Posthumus that he received the wager and this sends Posthumus right into a rage. He sends two letters: one to Imogen, telling her to satisfy him at Milford Haven on the Welsh coast, one other to their servant, ordering him to kill her at Milford Haven. Nonetheless, Pisanio refuses to kill Imogen and divulges to her Posthumus’s plot. He has Imogen disguise herself as a boy and proceed to Milford Haven to hunt employment. He additionally provides her the Queen’s “poison”, believing it should alleviate her psychological misery. Within the guise of a boy, Imogen adopts the identify “Fidele”, that means “trustworthy”.

Again on the British court docket, Cymbeline is refusing to pay his taxes to Rome. He’s warned by ambassadors to Rome that if he doesn’t he and his kingdom might be invaded by the Roman military. In the meantime, Cloten learns of the “assembly” between Imogen and Posthumus at Milford Haven. Dressing himself in Posthumus’s garments, he decides to go to Wales to kill Posthumus, after which rape, abduct, and marry Imogen in opposition to her will. Imogen has been travelling by the mountains in disguise and her well being has been getting poor. She decides to take refuge in a cave. Little does she comprehend it’s house to Belarius, and the 2 misplaced princes of Britain, who’re unaware of their royal blood. Once they uncover Imogen, they’re immediately drawn to ‘him’ and take them underneath their wing. Cloten arrives outdoors the cave and is met by Guiderius. Cloten insults him which ends up in a sword battle between the 2 resulting in Clotens demise and beheading. Imogen’s fragile state worsens and she or he takes the “poison” as a hopeful drugs; when the boys re-enter, they discover her “useless.” They mourn and, after putting Cloten’s physique beside hers, briefly depart to arrange for the double burial. Imogen awakes to seek out the headless physique, and believes it to be Posthumus as a result of the physique is sporting Posthumus’ garments. Lucius’ Roman troopers have simply arrived in Britain and, as the military strikes by Wales, Lucius discovers the devastated “Fidele”, who pretends to be a loyal servant grieving for his killed grasp; Lucius, moved by this faithfulness, enlists “Fidele” as a pageboy.

In the meantime the Queen is deteriorating because of the lack of her son Clotus and Posthumus has enlisted himself within the Roman military as they invade Britain. Belarius, Guiderius, Arviragus, and Posthumus all assist rescue Cymbeline from the Roman onslaught; the king doesn’t but recognise these 4, but takes discover of them as they go on to battle bravely and even seize the Roman commanders, Lucius and Iachimo, thus successful the day. Posthumus, permitting himself to be captured, in addition to “Fidele”, are imprisoned alongside the true Romans, all of whom await execution. In jail, Posthumus sleeps, whereas the ghosts of his useless household seem to complain to Jupiter of his grim destiny. Jupiter himself then seems to guarantee the others that future will grant happiness to Posthumus and Britain.

Cornelius arrives on the court docket and tells everybody that the Queen has died abruptly. Cymbeline goes to execute his new Roman prisoners however is stopped in his tracks when he notices ‘Fidele’. “Fidele” has seen Posthumus’ ring on Iachimo’s finger and abruptly calls for to know from the place the jewel got here. A remorseful Iachimo tells of his wager, and the way he couldn’t seduce Imogen, but tricked Posthumus into pondering he had. Posthumus then comes ahead to substantiate Iachimo’s story, revealing his identification and acknowledging his wrongfulness in eager to kill her. Listening to this, Imogen throws herself round Posthumus, who nonetheless pondering she is “Fidele”, knocks her down. Pisanio then rushes ahead to elucidate that “Fidele” is Imogen in disguise; Imogen nonetheless suspects that Pisanio conspired with the Queen to offer her the poison. Pisanio sincerely claims innocence, and Cornelius reveals how the poison was a non-fatal potion all alongside. Insisting that his betrayal years in the past was a set-up, Belarius makes his personal completely happy confession, revealing Guiderius and Arviragus as Cymbeline’s personal two long-lost sons. With the Princes returned, this implies Imogen and Posthumus can lastly be married. Lucius calls on the soothsayer for a prophecy who see’s completely happy occasions forward for all. Cymbeline releases the Roman prisoners and, blaming the Queen for his late fee, pays his tax to them as a gesture of excellent will between Britain and Rome and invitations everybody to a feast.

Character Record


Cymbeline – Modelled on the historic King of Britain, Cunobeline, and father to Imogen
Queen – Cymbeline’s second spouse and mom to Cloten
Imogen – Cymbeline’s daughter by a former queen, later disguised because the web page Fidele
Posthumus – Imogen’s husband, adopted as an orphan and raised in Cymbeline’s household
Cloten – Queen’s son by a former husband and step-brother to Imogen
Belarius – banished lord residing underneath the identify Morgan, who kidnapped King Cymbeline’s toddler sons in retaliation for his banishment
Guiderius – Cymbeline’s son, kidnapped in childhood by Belarius and raised as his son Polydore
Arvirargus – Cymbeline’s son, kidnapped in childhood by Belarius and raised as his son Cadwal
Pisanio – Posthumus’ servant, loyal to each Posthumus and Imogen
Cornelius – court docket doctor
Helen – girl attending Imogen
Two Lords attending Cloten
Two Gents
Two Captains
Two Jailers


Philario – Posthumus’ host in Rome
Iachimo – a Roman lord and good friend of Philaro
French Gentleman
Dutch Gentleman
Spanish Gentleman
Caius Lucius – Roman ambassador and later normal
Two Roman senators
Roman tribunes
Roman captain
Philharmonus – soothsayer


Jupiter – King of the gods in Roman mythology
Sicilius Leonatus – Posthumus’ father
Posthumus’ mom
Posthumus’ two brothers

Notable Monologues

Imogen, Act 3, Scene 4, Line 70, Why I need to die;
Queen, Act 3, Scene 1, Line 19, That chance Which then they needed to take from ‘s
Imogen, Act 1, Scene 4, Line 165, Away! I do condemn mine ears which have



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