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Cymbeline
Act 3, scene 5

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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 5
Enter Cymbeline, Queen, Cloten, Lucius, Lords, and
Attendants.


CYMBELINE 
 Thus far, and so farewell.
LUCIUS  Thanks, royal sir.
 My emperor hath wrote I must from hence,
 And am right sorry that I must report you
5 My master’s enemy.
CYMBELINE  Our subjects, sir,
 Will not endure his yoke, and for ourself
 To show less sovereignty than they must needs
 Appear unkinglike.
LUCIUS 10 So, sir. I desire of you
 A conduct overland to Milford Haven.—
 Madam, all joy befall your Grace—and you.
CYMBELINE, to Lords 
 My lords, you are appointed for that office.
 The due of honor in no point omit.—
15 So, farewell, noble Lucius.
LUCIUS, to Cloten  Your hand, my lord.
CLOTEN 
 Receive it friendly, but from this time forth
 I wear it as your enemy.
LUCIUS  Sir, the event
20 Is yet to name the winner. Fare you well.

135
Cymbeline
ACT 3. SC. 5

CYMBELINE 
 Leave not the worthy Lucius, good my lords,
 Till he have crossed the Severn. Happiness!
Exit Lucius and Lords.
QUEEN 
 He goes hence frowning, but it honors us
 That we have given him cause.
CLOTEN 25 ’Tis all the better.
 Your valiant Britons have their wishes in it.
CYMBELINE 
 Lucius hath wrote already to the Emperor
 How it goes here. It fits us therefore ripely
 Our chariots and our horsemen be in readiness.
30 The powers that he already hath in Gallia
 Will soon be drawn to head, from whence he moves
 His war for Britain.
QUEEN  ’Tis not sleepy business,
 But must be looked to speedily and strongly.
CYMBELINE 
35 Our expectation that it would be thus
 Hath made us forward. But, my gentle queen,
 Where is our daughter? She hath not appeared
 Before the Roman, nor to us hath tendered
 The duty of the day. She looks us like
40 A thing more made of malice than of duty.
 We have noted it.—Call her before us, for
 We have been too slight in sufferance.
An Attendant exits.
QUEEN  Royal sir,
 Since the exile of Posthumus, most retired
45 Hath her life been, the cure whereof, my lord,
 ’Tis time must do. Beseech your Majesty,
 Forbear sharp speeches to her. She’s a lady
 So tender of rebukes that words are strokes
 And strokes death to her.

Enter Attendant.


137
Cymbeline
ACT 3. SC. 5

CYMBELINE 50 Where is she, sir? How
 Can her contempt be answered?
ATTENDANT  Please you, sir,
 Her chambers are all locked, and there’s no answer
 That will be given to th’ loud’st noise we make.
QUEEN 
55 My lord, when last I went to visit her,
 She prayed me to excuse her keeping close;
 Whereto constrained by her infirmity,
 She should that duty leave unpaid to you
 Which daily she was bound to proffer. This
60 She wished me to make known, but our great court
 Made me to blame in memory.
CYMBELINE  Her doors locked?
 Not seen of late? Grant, heavens, that which I
 Fear prove false!He exits with Attendant.
QUEEN 65 Son, I say, follow the King.
CLOTEN 
 That man of hers, Pisanio, her old servant
 I have not seen these two days.
QUEEN  Go, look after.
Cloten exits.
 Aside. Pisanio, thou that stand’st so for Posthumus—
70 He hath a drug of mine. I pray his absence
 Proceed by swallowing that, for he believes
 It is a thing most precious. But for her,
 Where is she gone? Haply despair hath seized her,
 Or, winged with fervor of her love, she’s flown
75 To her desired Posthumus. Gone she is
 To death or to dishonor, and my end
 Can make good use of either. She being down,
 I have the placing of the British crown.

Enter Cloten.

 How now, my son?
CLOTEN 80 ’Tis certain she is fled.

139
Cymbeline
ACT 3. SC. 5

 Go in and cheer the King. He rages; none
 Dare come about him.
QUEEN, aside  All the better. May
 This night forestall him of the coming day!
Queen exits, with Attendants.
CLOTEN 
85 I love and hate her, for she’s fair and royal,
 And that she hath all courtly parts more exquisite
 Than lady, ladies, woman. From every one
 The best she hath, and she, of all compounded,
 Outsells them all. I love her therefore, but
90 Disdaining me and throwing favors on
 The low Posthumus slanders so her judgment
 That what’s else rare is choked. And in that point
 I will conclude to hate her, nay, indeed,
 To be revenged upon her. For, when fools
95 Shall—

Enter Pisanio.

 Who is here? What, are you packing, sirrah?
 Come hither. Ah, you precious pander! Villain,
 Where is thy lady? In a word, or else
 Thou art straightway with the fiends.
He draws his sword.
PISANIO 100 O, good my lord—
CLOTEN 
 Where is thy lady? Or, by Jupiter—
 I will not ask again. Close villain,
 I’ll have this secret from thy heart or rip
 Thy heart to find it. Is she with Posthumus,
105 From whose so many weights of baseness cannot
 A dram of worth be drawn?
PISANIO  Alas, my lord,
 How can she be with him? When was she missed?
 He is in Rome.
CLOTEN 110 Where is she, sir? Come nearer.

141
Cymbeline
ACT 3. SC. 5

 No farther halting. Satisfy me home
 What is become of her.
PISANIO 
 O, my all-worthy lord!
CLOTEN  All-worthy villain!
115 Discover where thy mistress is at once,
 At the next word. No more of “worthy lord”!
 Speak, or thy silence on the instant is
 Thy condemnation and thy death.
PISANIO  Then, sir,
120 This paper is the history of my knowledge
 Touching her flight.He gives Cloten a paper.
CLOTEN  Let’s see ’t. I will pursue her
 Even to Augustus’ throne.
PISANIO, aside  Or this or perish.
125 She’s far enough, and what he learns by this
 May prove his travail, not her danger.
CLOTEN  Humh!
PISANIO, aside 
 I’ll write to my lord she’s dead. O Imogen,
 Safe mayst thou wander, safe return again!
CLOTEN 130Sirrah, is this letter true?
PISANIO Sir, as I think.
CLOTEN It is Posthumus’ hand, I know ’t. Sirrah, if
 thou wouldst not be a villain, but do me true service,
 undergo those employments wherein I should
135 have cause to use thee with a serious industry—
 that is, what villainy soe’er I bid thee do to perform
 it directly and truly—I would think thee an honest
 man. Thou shouldst neither want my means for thy
 relief nor my voice for thy preferment.
PISANIO 140Well, my good lord.
CLOTEN Wilt thou serve me? For since patiently and
 constantly thou hast stuck to the bare fortune of
 that beggar Posthumus, thou canst not in the
 course of gratitude but be a diligent follower of
145 mine. Wilt thou serve me?

143
Cymbeline
ACT 3. SC. 5

PISANIO Sir, I will.
CLOTEN Give me thy hand. Here’s my purse. Gives
 him money. 
Hast any of thy late master’s garments
 in thy possession?
PISANIO 150I have, my lord, at my lodging the same suit he
 wore when he took leave of my lady and mistress.
CLOTEN The first service thou dost me, fetch that suit
 hither. Let it be thy first service. Go.
PISANIO I shall, my lord.He exits.
CLOTEN 155Meet thee at Milford Haven!—I forgot to ask
 him one thing; I’ll remember ’t anon. Even there,
 thou villain Posthumus, will I kill thee. I would
 these garments were come. She said upon a time—
 the bitterness of it I now belch from my heart—
160 that she held the very garment of Posthumus in
 more respect than my noble and natural person,
 together with the adornment of my qualities. With
 that suit upon my back will I ravish her. First, kill
 him, and in her eyes. There shall she see my valor,
165 which will then be a torment to her contempt.
 He on the ground, my speech of insultment
 ended on his dead body, and when my lust hath
 dined—which, as I say, to vex her I will execute
 in the clothes that she so praised—to the court
170 I’ll knock her back, foot her home again. She hath
 despised me rejoicingly, and I’ll be merry in my
 revenge.

Enter Pisanio with the clothes.

 Be those the garments?
PISANIO Ay, my noble lord.
CLOTEN 175How long is ’t since she went to Milford Haven?
PISANIO She can scarce be there yet.
CLOTEN Bring this apparel to my chamber; that is the
 second thing that I have commanded thee. The
 third is that thou wilt be a voluntary mute to my

145
Cymbeline
ACT 3. SC. 6

180 design. Be but duteous, and true preferment shall
 tender itself to thee. My revenge is now at Milford.
 Would I had wings to follow it! Come, and be true.
He exits.
PISANIO 
 Thou bidd’st me to my loss, for true to thee
 Were to prove false, which I will never be,
185 To him that is most true. To Milford go,
 And find not her whom thou pursuest. Flow, flow,
 You heavenly blessings, on her. This fool’s speed
 Be crossed with slowness. Labor be his meed.
He exits.