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Cymbeline
Act 3, scene 2

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Characters in the Play

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 2
Enter Pisanio reading of a letter.

PISANIO 
 How? Of adultery? Wherefore write you not
 What monsters her accuse? Leonatus,
 O master, what a strange infection
 Is fall’n into thy ear! What false Italian,
5 As poisonous-tongued as handed, hath prevailed
 On thy too ready hearing? Disloyal? No.
 She’s punished for her truth and undergoes,
 More goddesslike than wifelike, such assaults
 As would take in some virtue. O my master,
10 Thy mind to her is now as low as were
 Thy fortunes. How? That I should murder her,
 Upon the love and truth and vows which I
 Have made to thy command? I her? Her blood?
 If it be so to do good service, never
15 Let me be counted serviceable. How look I
 That I should seem to lack humanity
 So much as this fact comes to? (He reads:) Do ’t!
 The letter
 That I have sent her, by her own command
20 Shall give thee opportunity.
 O damned paper,
 Black as the ink that’s on thee! Senseless bauble,
 Art thou a fedary for this act, and look’st
 So virginlike without? Lo, here she comes.

Enter Imogen.

 I am ignorant in what I am commanded.
IMOGEN 25How now, Pisanio?
PISANIO 
 Madam, here is a letter from my lord.
He gives her a paper.
IMOGEN 
 Who, thy lord that is my lord, Leonatus?

109
Cymbeline
ACT 3. SC. 2

 O, learned indeed were that astronomer
 That knew the stars as I his characters!
30 He’d lay the future open. You good gods,
 Let what is here contained relish of love,
 Of my lord’s health, of his content (yet not
 That we two are asunder; let that grieve him.
 Some griefs are med’cinable; that is one of them,
35 For it doth physic love) of his content
 All but in that. Good wax, thy leave.
She opens the letter.
 Blest be
 You bees that make these locks of counsel. Lovers
 And men in dangerous bonds pray not alike;
40 Though forfeiters you cast in prison, yet
 You clasp young Cupid’s tables. Good news, gods!
 Reads. Justice and your father’s wrath, should he
 take me in his dominion, could not be so cruel to me
 as you, O the dearest of creatures, would even renew
45 me with your eyes. Take notice that I am in Cambria
 at Milford Haven. What your own love will out of
 this advise you, follow. So he wishes you all happiness,
 that remains loyal to his vow, and your increasing
 in love.
50 Leonatus Posthumus.

 O, for a horse with wings! Hear’st thou, Pisanio?
 He is at Milford Haven. Read, and tell me
 How far ’tis thither. If one of mean affairs
 May plod it in a week, why may not I
55 Glide thither in a day? Then, true Pisanio,
 Who long’st like me to see thy lord, who long’st—
 O, let me bate—but not like me, yet long’st
 But in a fainter kind—O, not like me,
 For mine’s beyond beyond—say, and speak thick—
60 Love’s counselor should fill the bores of hearing
 To th’ smothering of the sense—how far it is
 To this same blessèd Milford. And by th’ way

111
Cymbeline
ACT 3. SC. 3

 Tell me how Wales was made so happy as
 T’ inherit such a haven. But first of all,
65 How we may steal from hence, and for the gap
 That we shall make in time from our hence-going
 And our return, to excuse. But first, how get hence?
 Why should excuse be born or ere begot?
 We’ll talk of that hereafter. Prithee speak,
70 How many score of miles may we well rid
 ’Twixt hour and hour?
PISANIO  One score ’twixt sun and sun,
 Madam, ’s enough for you, and too much too.
IMOGEN 
 Why, one that rode to ’s execution, man,
75 Could never go so slow. I have heard of riding wagers
 Where horses have been nimbler than the sands
 That run i’ th’ clock’s behalf. But this is fool’ry.
 Go, bid my woman feign a sickness, say
 She’ll home to her father; and provide me presently
80 A riding suit no costlier than would fit
 A franklin’s huswife.
PISANIO  Madam, you’re best consider.
IMOGEN 
 I see before me, man. Nor here, nor here,
 Nor what ensues, but have a fog in them
85 That I cannot look through. Away, I prithee.
 Do as I bid thee. There’s no more to say.
 Accessible is none but Milford way.
They exit.