Cymbeline "Annotated"

Cymbeline

Author: William Shakespeare

Publisher:

ISBN: 9798611157091

Page: 226

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He also gives the potion, which he believes is a "sovereign restorative," to Imogen. While this is happening, Cymbeline angers Lucius, a Roman ambassador to the point that Rome declares war on Britain over an unpaid tribute to Caesar.

Cymbeline is King of Britain; his first wife died, and he married a wicked queen. Imogen, Cymbeline's daughter is in love with Posthumus, but her stepmother wants Imogen to marry Cloten, the queen's son. When Imogen balks and secretly marries Posthumus, the king has him banished. Before his departure, Posthumus gives Imogen a bracelet, and she gives him a ring. Posthumus arrives in Rome, where he brags of his wife's beauty and fidelity. When Iachimo questions this, he and Posthumus propose a wager that Iachimo can't seduce Imogen. Iachimo hastens to Britain, where he is rebuffed several times by Imogen. Meanwhile, the malicious stepmother has arranged for her physician to create a poison for Pisanio, a servant and friend of Posthumus. The physician, distrustful of the wicked queen, prepares instead a type of sleeping potion. This is given to Pisanio.Iachimo, still striving for Imogen, is nothing if not crafty. The rogue hides in a chest carried into Imogen's room, then steals her bracelet while she sleeps. He also takes note of a mole not easily seen. Armed with detail and her bracelet, Iachimo tells Posthumus that he has won the bet, whereupon Posthumus gives up the ring that Imogen gave him. Posthumus, considerably peeved at Imogen, sends a letter to Britain instructing Pisanio to kill her for him. Pisanio instead warns Imogen of the anger of Posthumus, and Imogen flees Cymbeline's court disguised as a page. He also gives the potion, which he believes is a "sovereign restorative," to Imogen. While this is happening, Cymbeline angers Lucius, a Roman ambassador to the point that Rome declares war on Britain over an unpaid tribute to Caesar.



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