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Cymbeline by William Shakespeare
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Cymbeline (1609)

by William Shakespeare

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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Comparative prompt (that could include Cymbeline) for 117S:

Vested Interests

How is cross-dressing used in two plays? What are the effects of changing clothes? Consider genre—what tragic or comedic elements (such as sacrifice and marriage) result from cross-dressing? How are gender bending and crossing class/national boundaries different and/or similar? How do historical elements, such as boys playing female roles on the renaissance stage, impact how the reader views cross-dressing? Please craft a focused argument, supported with close readings of the texts, in response to one or more of these (or other) questions.
  Marjorie_Jensen | Nov 12, 2015 |
I sensed that Shakespeare trying to reuse his favorite dramatic devices, including: jealous lovers, wronged women, plucky heroines, male impersonation, scheming villains, idyllic landscapes, wise clowns. I also couldn't help noticing that, although the Bard called the play a tragedy, he was using a romantic comedy / adventure plot. He also gave the "tragedy" a happy ending, albeit a very complicated one. He had to unwind a large number of plot entanglements in one act. I found that complicated to read and wondered how it could be staged without turning into a train wreck. Despite that, I quite enjoyed reading the play, a rousing adventure with great characters. I thought was a vast improvement over the collaborations and a welcome lightening of tone. ( )
  Coach_of_Alva | Nov 29, 2014 |
Willie seems to have been fixated on men who don't trust their wives. Maybe Anne was fooling around on him. Kind of a weird meandering story. Too many elements to maintain my interest. ( )
  AliceAnna | Oct 13, 2014 |
This is one of Shakespeare’s most convoluted plots. It combines bits and pieces from his greatest works, but in a strange way. There’s a battle to rival that in Henry V, parental ghosts like Hamlet, a jealous husband like Othello and ill-fated lovers and faked death like Romeo and Juliet. In the midst of this jumble are the old standbys, a woman pretending to be a young page and banished people living in the forest. This play is divisive among Shakespeare scholars when it comes to its categorization, some consider it a tragedy and others a romance.

King Cymbeline of Britain is furious when he finds out his only daughter, Imogen, has secretly married Posthumus Leonatus, a man from his court. He quickly banishes Posthumus from his kingdom and shortly thereafter Posthumus meets Iachimo in Italy. He tells his new friend all about his beautiful Imogen. Iachimo isn’t impressed and makes a bet with Posthumus regarding her honor. Add in a devious Queen plotting the King’s death, her horrid son Cloten, missing heirs to the throne, warring Romans and a beheading and you’ve got the gist of it.

BOTTOM LINE: A strange mishmash of Shakespearean themes, but a satisfying if contrived ending. I’d love to see this one performed, but until then I’ll have to settle for the wild ride the play takes you on. ( )
1 vote bookworm12 | Oct 9, 2013 |
One of Shakespeare's most perplexing and unclassifiable late plays, Cymbeline is often labelled a "Romance", due to its themes of pastoralism, exile and familial reconciliation which critics notice recur throughout Shakespeare's last plays, from Pericles to The Tempest. Set in ancient Roman Britain at the court of the British king Cymbeline, the main action of the play revolves around the relationship between Cymbeline's daughter, Imogen, and Posthumous Leonatus. Attempting to marry Imogen off to Cloten, the grotesque son of Cymbeline's second wife, the king banishes Posthumous in a rage when he discovers he has secretly married Imogen. As the personal relationships in the play deteriorate, on the public stage Rome prepares to invade Britain due to Cymbeline's failure to pay tribute to his imperial master. As the play builds to its militaristic climax, Posthumous returns to Britain, where he eventually contrives a reunion with Imogen and Cymbeline's long-lost sons, who unite in their attempt to resist the might of Rome. The ending of the play, with its series of mystical riddles, unlikely coincidences and extraordinary reunions has baffled critics for centuries. Some read it as a heavy-handed political allegory of Jacobean national union under the new sovereign of the time, King James I, whilst others see in it Shakespeare pushing theatrical realism to its furthermost limits, with its decapitated bodies, complex staging and unlikely mistaken identities. Cymbeline remains a puzzling, enigmatic play. --Jerry Brotton
  Roger_Scoppie | Apr 3, 2013 |
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» Add other authors (52 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Shakespeare, Williamprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Cajander, PaavoTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Hudson, Henry N.Editorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Nosworthy, J. M.Editorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Rolfe, William JamesEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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People/Characters
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Epigraph
Dedication
First words
You do not meet a man but frowns: our bloods

No more obey the heavens then our courtiers

Still seem as does the king.
First Gentleman. You do not meet a man but frowns.
our bloods
No more obey the heavens than our courtiers
Still seem as does the King.
Second Gentleman. But what’s the matter?
First Gentleman. His daughter, and the heir of his
kingdom, whom
He purposed to his wife’s sole son—a widow
That late he married—has referred herself
Unto a poor but worthy gentleman. She’s wedded,
Her husband banished, she imprisoned; all
Is outward sorrow; though I think the King
Be touched at very heart.
Quotations
No, 'tis slander,
Whose edge is sharper than the sword, whose tongue
Outvenoms all the worms of Nile, whose breath
Rides on the posting winds, and doth belie
All corners of the world.
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
Disambiguation notice
This work is for the COMPLETE "Cymbeline" ONLY. Do not combine this work with abridgements, adaptations or "simplifications" (such as "Shakespeare Made Easy"), Cliffs Notes or similar study guides, or anything else that does not contain the full text. Do not include any video recordings. Additionally, do not combine this with other plays.
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Wikipedia in English (3)

Book description
Cymbeline, an early British king, seeks to marry his daughter to his new stepson; she, however, prefers the adopted son whom Cymbeline has exiled — and she runs away to find him. The stepson hunts for them both, but, dressed in the beloved's clothes, is beheaded. When she awakens, she fears the worst. Her woods companions turn out to be the man who had kidnapped Cymbeline's own two baby sons years before, now grown. When they return to help the British fight off the Romans seeking their annual tribute, the kidnapper is a hero, but confesses to Cymbeline and his sons. All are finally reconciled.
Haiku summary

Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 067172259X, Mass Market Paperback)

FOLGER Shakespeare Library

The world's leading center for Shakespeare studies.

Each edition includes:

Freshly edited text based on the best early printed version of the play

Full explanatory notes conveniently placed on pages facing the text of the play

Scene-by-scene plot summaries

A key to famous lines and phrases

An introduction to reading Shakespeare's language

An essay by an outstanding scholar providing a modern perspective on the play

Illustrations from the Folger Shakespeare Library's vast holdings of rare books

Essay by Cynthia Marshall

The Folger Shakespeare Library in Washington, D.C., is home to the world's largest collection of Shakespeare's printed works, and a magnet for Shakespeare scholars from around the globe. In addition to exhibitions open to the public throughout the year, the Folger offers a full calendar of performances and programs. For more information, visit www.folger.edu.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:10:26 -0400)

(see all 7 descriptions)

"Imogen, the daughter of King Cymbeline, is persecuted by her wicked stepmother, the Queen, and by Cloten, the Queen's doltish son. Disguised as a boy, she sets out to find her husband, the banished Posthumus"--Container.

» see all 3 descriptions

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Penguin Australia

2 editions of this book were published by Penguin Australia.

Editions: 0140714723, 0140707425

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