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Act 3, scene 1



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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 1
Enter in state Cymbeline, Queen, Cloten, and Lords at
one door, and, at another, Caius Lucius and Attendants.

 Now say, what would Augustus Caesar with us?
 When Julius Caesar, whose remembrance yet
 Lives in men’s eyes and will to ears and tongues
 Be theme and hearing ever, was in this Britain
5 And conquered it, Cassibelan, thine uncle,
 Famous in Caesar’s praises no whit less
 Than in his feats deserving it, for him
 And his succession granted Rome a tribute,
 Yearly three thousand pounds, which by thee lately
10 Is left untendered.
QUEEN  And, to kill the marvel,
 Shall be so ever.
CLOTEN  There be many Caesars
 Ere such another Julius. Britain’s a world
15 By itself, and we will nothing pay
 For wearing our own noses.
QUEEN  That opportunity
 Which then they had to take from ’s, to resume
 We have again.—Remember, sir, my liege,
20 The Kings your ancestors, together with
 The natural bravery of your isle, which stands

ACT 3. SC. 1

 As Neptune’s park, ribbed and palèd in
 With rocks unscalable and roaring waters,
 With sands that will not bear your enemies’ boats
25 But suck them up to th’ topmast. A kind of conquest
 Caesar made here, but made not here his brag
 Of “came, and saw, and overcame.” With shame—
 The first that ever touched him—he was carried
 From off our coast, twice beaten; and his shipping,
30 Poor ignorant baubles, on our terrible seas
 Like eggshells moved upon their surges, cracked
 As easily ’gainst our rocks. For joy whereof
 The famed Cassibelan, who was once at point—
 O, giglet Fortune!—to master Caesar’s sword,
35 Made Lud’s Town with rejoicing fires bright
 And Britons strut with courage.
CLOTEN Come, there’s no more tribute to be paid. Our
 kingdom is stronger than it was at that time, and,
 as I said, there is no more such Caesars. Other of
40 them may have crooked noses, but to owe such
 straight arms, none.
CYMBELINE Son, let your mother end.
CLOTEN We have yet many among us can grip as hard
 as Cassibelan. I do not say I am one, but I have a
45 hand. Why tribute? Why should we pay tribute? If
 Caesar can hide the sun from us with a blanket or
 put the moon in his pocket, we will pay him tribute
 for light; else, sir, no more tribute, pray you now.
CYMBELINE, to Lucius You must know,
50 Till the injurious Romans did extort
 This tribute from us, we were free. Caesar’s ambition,
 Which swelled so much that it did almost stretch
 The sides o’ th’ world, against all color here
 Did put the yoke upon ’s, which to shake off
55 Becomes a warlike people, whom we reckon
 Ourselves to be. We do say, then, to Caesar,
 Our ancestor was that Mulmutius which

ACT 3. SC. 1

 Ordained our laws, whose use the sword of Caesar
 Hath too much mangled, whose repair and franchise
60 Shall, by the power we hold, be our good deed,
 Though Rome be therefore angry. Mulmutius made
 our laws,
 Who was the first of Britain which did put
 His brows within a golden crown and called
65 Himself a king.
LUCIUS  I am sorry, Cymbeline,
 That I am to pronounce Augustus Caesar—
 Caesar, that hath more kings his servants than
 Thyself domestic officers—thine enemy.
70 Receive it from me, then: war and confusion
 In Caesar’s name pronounce I ’gainst thee. Look
 For fury not to be resisted. Thus defied,
 I thank thee for myself.
CYMBELINE Thou art welcome, Caius.
75 Thy Caesar knighted me; my youth I spent
 Much under him. Of him I gathered honor,
 Which he to seek of me again perforce
 Behooves me keep at utterance. I am perfect
 That the Pannonians and Dalmatians for
80 Their liberties are now in arms, a precedent
 Which not to read would show the Britons cold.
 So Caesar shall not find them.
LUCIUS  Let proof speak.
CLOTEN His Majesty bids you welcome. Make pastime
85 with us a day or two, or longer. If you seek us afterwards
 in other terms, you shall find us in our saltwater
 girdle; if you beat us out of it, it is yours. If
 you fall in the adventure, our crows shall fare the
 better for you, and there’s an end.
LUCIUS 90So, sir.
 I know your master’s pleasure, and he mine.
 All the remain is welcome.
They exit.