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Cymbeline
Act 5, 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 Posthumus alone, wearing Roman garments and
carrying a bloody cloth.


POSTHUMUS 
 Yea, bloody cloth, I’ll keep thee, for I wished
 Thou shouldst be colored thus. You married ones,
 If each of you should take this course, how many
 Must murder wives much better than themselves
5 For wrying but a little! O Pisanio,
 Every good servant does not all commands;
 No bond but to do just ones. Gods, if you
 Should have ta’en vengeance on my faults, I never
 Had lived to put on this; so had you saved
10 The noble Imogen to repent, and struck
 Me, wretch more worth your vengeance. But, alack,
 You snatch some hence for little faults; that’s love,
 To have them fall no more; you some permit
 To second ills with ills, each elder worse,
15 And make them dread it, to the doers’ thrift.
 But Imogen is your own. Do your best wills,
 And make me blest to obey. I am brought hither
 Among th’ Italian gentry, and to fight
 Against my lady’s kingdom. ’Tis enough
20 That, Britain, I have killed thy mistress. Peace,
 I’ll give no wound to thee. Therefore, good heavens,
201

203
Cymbeline
ACT 5. SC. 2

 Hear patiently my purpose. I’ll disrobe me
 Of these Italian weeds and suit myself
 As does a Briton peasant. So I’ll fight
25 Against the part I come with; so I’ll die
 For thee, O Imogen, even for whom my life
 Is every breath a death. And thus, unknown,
 Pitied nor hated, to the face of peril
 Myself I’ll dedicate. Let me make men know
30 More valor in me than my habits show.
 Gods, put the strength o’ th’ Leonati in me.
 To shame the guise o’ th’ world, I will begin
 The fashion: less without and more within.
He exits.