List iconCymbelineList icon

Cymbeline
Act 1, scene 2

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Cymbeline, which takes place in ancient Britain, is filled with hidden identities, extraordinary schemes, and violent acts. Long ago, the…

Act 1, scene 1

At the court of King Cymbeline, the princess, Imogen, has secretly married a gentleman named Posthumus Leonatus. Imogen is the…

Act 1, scene 2

An encounter between Cloten and Posthumus, reported in 1.1, is here discussed by Cloten and two lords.

Act 1, scene 3

Posthumus’s servant, Pisanio, describes to the grieving Imogen the departure of Posthumus toward Rome.

Act 1, scene 4

Posthumus arrives in Rome, where an Italian gentleman, Iachimo, maneuvers him into placing a bet on Imogen’s chastity. Posthumus bets…

Act 1, scene 5

The queen obtains a box that she is told contains poison. (The audience is told that the box actually contains…

Act 1, scene 6

Iachimo arrives in Britain and begins his attempt to seduce Imogen by telling her that Posthumus is betraying her with…

Act 2, scene 1

Cloten and two lords discuss the arrival of Iachimo. The Second Lord, in soliloquy, expresses the hope that Imogen will…

Act 2, scene 2

As Imogen sleeps, the trunk that she is keeping for Iachimo opens, and Iachimo emerges. Before climbing back into it,…

Act 2, scene 3

Cloten serenades Imogen in an attempt to win her love. Imogen enrages Cloten by saying that he is not as…

Act 2, scene 4

Iachimo returns to Rome with his proofs of Imogen’s unfaithfulness: descriptions of her bedroom and of private marks on her…

Act 2, scene 5

Posthumus, in soliloquy, attacks women as the embodiment of all that is vicious.

Act 3, scene 1

Caius Lucius arrives as ambassador from Augustus Caesar, demanding that Cymbeline pay the tribute Britain owes to Rome. With the…

Act 3, scene 2

Pisanio receives two letters from Posthumus—one in which Pisanio is instructed to kill Imogen, and another written to Imogen, telling…

Act 3, scene 3

Three men enter as if from a cave, the two younger men protesting the limitations of their mountain lives. When…

Act 3, scene 4

On the journey to Milford Haven, Pisanio reveals to Imogen that he is supposed to kill her. She is so…

Act 3, scene 5

When Imogen’s absence from court is discovered, Cloten forces Pisanio to tell him where she is. Pisanio shows him the…

Act 3, scene 6

Imogen, disguised as a boy named Fidele, stumbles, exhausted and famished, into the cave of Belarius and the two young…

Act 3, scene 7

A Roman senator announces that the Roman army attacking Britain will be under the control of Caius Lucius and that…

Act 4, scene 1

Cloten, dressed in Posthumus’s garments, arrives at the spot where he plans to cut off Posthumus’s head and rape Imogen.

Act 4, scene 2

Imogen, not feeling well, takes the potion given her by Pisanio, thinking it is a restorative; the potion puts her…

Act 4, scene 3

Cymbeline finds himself alone in the face of the Roman attack, with Imogen and Cloten both missing and the queen…

Act 4, scene 4

The young princes persuade Belarius that the three of them should join with the Britons against Rome.

Act 5, scene 1

Posthumus, in Britain as part of the Roman army, repents Imogen’s (reported) murder and decides to seek death by joining…

Act 5, scene 2

In a series of battles, Posthumus (disguised as a peasant) defeats and disarms Iachimo; the Britons flee and Cymbeline is…

Act 5, scene 3

Posthumus, still seeking death and failing to find it as a poor British soldier, reverts to his earlier role as…

Act 5, scene 4

Posthumus, in chains, falls asleep and is visited by the ghosts of his dead family and by the god Jupiter,…

Act 5, scene 5

Cymbeline knights Belarius and the two young men in gratitude for their valor, and sends in search of the poor…

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Scene 2
Enter Cloten and two Lords.

FIRST LORD Sir, I would advise you to shift a shirt. The
 violence of action hath made you reek as a sacrifice.
 Where air comes out, air comes in. There’s
 none abroad so wholesome as that you vent.
CLOTEN 5If my shirt were bloody, then to shift it. Have I
 hurt him?
SECOND LORD, aside No, faith, not so much as his
 patience.
FIRST LORD Hurt him? His body’s a passable carcass if
10 he be not hurt. It is a thoroughfare for steel if it be
 not hurt.
SECOND LORD, aside His steel was in debt; it went o’
 th’ backside the town.
CLOTEN The villain would not stand me.
SECOND LORD, aside 15No, but he fled forward still,
 toward your face.
FIRST LORD Stand you? You have land enough of your
 own, but he added to your having, gave you some
 ground.

23
Cymbeline
ACT 1. SC. 3

SECOND LORD, aside 20As many inches as you have
 oceans. Puppies!
CLOTEN I would they had not come between us.
SECOND LORD, aside So would I, till you had measured
 how long a fool you were upon the ground.
CLOTEN 25And that she should love this fellow and
 refuse me!
SECOND LORD, aside If it be a sin to make a true election,
 she is damned.
FIRST LORD Sir, as I told you always, her beauty and
30 her brain go not together. She’s a good sign, but I
 have seen small reflection of her wit.
SECOND LORD, aside She shines not upon fools, lest
 the reflection should hurt her.
CLOTEN Come, I’ll to my chamber. Would there had
35 been some hurt done!
SECOND LORD, aside I wish not so, unless it had been
 the fall of an ass, which is no great hurt.
CLOTEN You’ll go with us?
FIRST LORD I’ll attend your Lordship.
CLOTEN 40Nay, come, let’s go together.
SECOND LORD Well, my lord.
They exit.