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Cymbeline
Act 3, scene 6

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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 6
Enter Imogen alone, dressed as a boy, Fidele.

IMOGEN 
 I see a man’s life is a tedious one.
 I have tired myself, and for two nights together
 Have made the ground my bed. I should be sick
 But that my resolution helps me. Milford,
5 When from the mountain top Pisanio showed thee,
 Thou wast within a ken. O Jove, I think
 Foundations fly the wretched—such, I mean,
 Where they should be relieved. Two beggars told me
 I could not miss my way. Will poor folks lie,
10 That have afflictions on them, knowing ’tis
 A punishment or trial? Yes. No wonder,
 When rich ones scarce tell true. To lapse in fullness
 Is sorer than to lie for need, and falsehood
 Is worse in kings than beggars. My dear lord,
15 Thou art one o’ th’ false ones. Now I think on thee,
 My hunger’s gone; but even before, I was
 At point to sink for food. But what is this?
 Here is a path to ’t. ’Tis some savage hold.

147
Cymbeline
ACT 3. SC. 6

 I were best not call; I dare not call. Yet famine,
20 Ere clean it o’erthrow nature, makes it valiant.
 Plenty and peace breeds cowards; hardness ever
 Of hardiness is mother.—Ho! Who’s here?
 If anything that’s civil, speak; if savage,
 Take or lend. Ho!—No answer? Then I’ll enter.
25 Best draw my sword; an if mine enemy
 But fear the sword like me, he’ll scarcely look on ’t.
She draws her sword.
 Such a foe, good heavens!
She exits, as into the cave.

Enter Belarius as Morgan, Guiderius as Polydor, and
Arviragus as Cadwal.


BELARIUS, as Morgan 
 You, Polydor, have proved best woodman and
 Are master of the feast. Cadwal and I
30 Will play the cook and servant; ’tis our match.
 The sweat of industry would dry and die
 But for the end it works to. Come, our stomachs
 Will make what’s homely savory. Weariness
 Can snore upon the flint when resty sloth
35 Finds the down pillow hard. Now peace be here,
 Poor house, that keep’st thyself.
GUIDERIUS, as Polydor I am throughly weary.
ARVIRAGUS, as Cadwal 
 I am weak with toil, yet strong in appetite.
GUIDERIUS, as Polydor 
 There is cold meat i’ th’ cave. We’ll browse on that
40 Whilst what we have killed be cooked.
BELARIUS, as Morgan, looking into the cave 
 Stay, come
 not in!
 But that it eats our victuals, I should think
 Here were a fairy.
GUIDERIUS, as Polydor 45 What’s the matter, sir?

149
Cymbeline
ACT 3. SC. 6

BELARIUS, as Morgan 
 By Jupiter, an angel! Or, if not,
 An earthly paragon. Behold divineness
 No elder than a boy.

Enter Imogen as Fidele.

IMOGEN, as Fidele  Good masters, harm me not.
50 Before I entered here, I called, and thought
 To have begged or bought what I have took. Good
 troth,
 I have stol’n naught, nor would not, though I had
 found
55 Gold strewed i’ th’ floor. Here’s money for my meat.
She offers money.
 I would have left it on the board so soon
 As I had made my meal, and parted
 With prayers for the provider.
GUIDERIUS, as Polydor  Money, youth?
ARVIRAGUS, as Cadwal 
60 All gold and silver rather turn to dirt,
 As ’tis no better reckoned but of those
 Who worship dirty gods.
IMOGEN, as Fidele  I see you’re angry.
 Know, if you kill me for my fault, I should
65 Have died had I not made it.
BELARIUS, as Morgan  Whither bound?
IMOGEN, as Fidele To Milford Haven.
BELARIUS, as Morgan What’s your name?
IMOGEN, as Fidele 
 Fidele, sir. I have a kinsman who
70 Is bound for Italy. He embarked at Milford,
 To whom being going, almost spent with hunger,
 I am fall’n in this offense.
BELARIUS, as Morgan  Prithee, fair youth,
 Think us no churls, nor measure our good minds
75 By this rude place we live in. Well encountered!
 ’Tis almost night; you shall have better cheer

151
Cymbeline
ACT 3. SC. 6

 Ere you depart, and thanks to stay and eat it.—
 Boys, bid him welcome.
GUIDERIUS, as Polydor  Were you a woman, youth,
80 I should woo hard but be your groom in honesty,
 Ay, bid for you as I do buy.
ARVIRAGUS, as Cadwal  I’ll make ’t my comfort
 He is a man. I’ll love him as my brother.—
 And such a welcome as I’d give to him
85 After long absence, such is yours. Most welcome.
 Be sprightly, for you fall ’mongst friends.
IMOGEN, as Fidele  ’Mongst
 friends?
 If brothers—(aside) Would it had been so, that they
90 Had been my father’s sons! Then had my prize
 Been less, and so more equal ballasting
 To thee, Posthumus.
BELARIUS, as Morgan  He wrings at some distress.
GUIDERIUS, as Polydor 
 Would I could free ’t!
ARVIRAGUS, as Cadwal 95 Or I, whate’er it be,
 What pain it cost, what danger. Gods!
BELARIUS, as Morgan  Hark, boys.
They talk aside.
IMOGEN Great men
 That had a court no bigger than this cave,
100 That did attend themselves and had the virtue
 Which their own conscience sealed them, laying by
 That nothing-gift of differing multitudes,
 Could not outpeer these twain. Pardon me, gods!
 I’d change my sex to be companion with them,
105 Since Leonatus false.
BELARIUS, as Morgan  It shall be so.
 Boys, we’ll go dress our hunt.—Fair youth, come in.
 Discourse is heavy, fasting. When we have supped,
 We’ll mannerly demand thee of thy story
110 So far as thou wilt speak it.

153
Cymbeline
ACT 3. SC. 7

GUIDERIUS, as Polydor  Pray, draw near.
ARVIRAGUS, as Cadwal 
 The night to th’ owl and morn to th’ lark less
 welcome.
IMOGEN, as Fidele Thanks, sir.
ARVIRAGUS, as Cadwal 115I pray, draw near.
They exit.