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Cymbeline
Act 2, scene 1

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Entire Play

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 1
Enter Cloten and the two Lords.

CLOTEN Was there ever man had such luck? When I
 kissed the jack, upon an upcast to be hit away? I
 had a hundred pound on ’t. And then a whoreson
 jackanapes must take me up for swearing, as if I
5 borrowed mine oaths of him and might not spend
 them at my pleasure.
FIRST LORD What got he by that? You have broke his
 pate with your bowl.
SECOND LORD, aside If his wit had been like him that
10 broke it, it would have run all out.
CLOTEN When a gentleman is disposed to swear, it is
 not for any standers-by to curtail his oaths, ha?
SECOND LORD No, my lord, (aside) nor crop the ears
 of them.
CLOTEN 15Whoreson dog! I gave him satisfaction. Would
 he had been one of my rank.
SECOND LORD, aside To have smelled like a fool.
CLOTEN I am not vexed more at anything in th’ Earth.
 A pox on ’t! I had rather not be so noble as I am.
20 They dare not fight with me because of the Queen
 my mother. Every jack-slave hath his bellyful of
 fighting, and I must go up and down like a cock
 that nobody can match.
63

65
Cymbeline
ACT 2. SC. 1

SECOND LORD, aside You are cock and capon too, and
25 you crow cock with your comb on.
CLOTEN Sayest thou?
SECOND LORD It is not fit your Lordship should undertake
 every companion that you give offense to.
CLOTEN No, I know that, but it is fit I should commit
30 offense to my inferiors.
SECOND LORD Ay, it is fit for your Lordship only.
CLOTEN Why, so I say.
FIRST LORD Did you hear of a stranger that’s come to
 court tonight?
CLOTEN 35A stranger, and I not know on ’t?
SECOND LORD, aside He’s a strange fellow himself and
 knows it not.
FIRST LORD There’s an Italian come, and ’tis thought
 one of Leonatus’ friends.
CLOTEN 40Leonatus? A banished rascal; and he’s another,
 whatsoever he be. Who told you of this stranger?
FIRST LORD One of your Lordship’s pages.
CLOTEN Is it fit I went to look upon him? Is there no
 derogation in ’t?
SECOND LORD 45You cannot derogate, my lord.
CLOTEN Not easily, I think.
SECOND LORD, aside You are a fool granted; therefore
 your issues, being foolish, do not derogate.
CLOTEN Come, I’ll go see this Italian. What I have lost
50 today at bowls I’ll win tonight of him. Come, go.
SECOND LORD I’ll attend your Lordship.
Cloten and First Lord exit.
 That such a crafty devil as is his mother
 Should yield the world this ass! A woman that
 Bears all down with her brain, and this her son
55 Cannot take two from twenty, for his heart,
 And leave eighteen. Alas, poor princess,
 Thou divine Imogen, what thou endur’st,
 Betwixt a father by thy stepdame governed,

67
Cymbeline
ACT 2. SC. 2

 A mother hourly coining plots, a wooer
60 More hateful than the foul expulsion is
 Of thy dear husband, than that horrid act
 Of the divorce he’d make! The heavens hold firm
 The walls of thy dear honor, keep unshaked
 That temple, thy fair mind, that thou mayst stand
65 T’ enjoy thy banished lord and this great land.
He exits.