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MonkeyNotes-Cymbeline by William Shakespeare
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Act I, Scene 3

Imogen is burdened with the grief due to her separation from Posthumus. She enters with Pisanio, the servant of Posthumus, and declares that if she were in Pisanio's place, she would wait at the shore hoping that each ship that arrived would bring news of her husband. She questions him over and over again regarding Posthumus's departure. Pisanio replies that his master had spoken of her even at the moment of departure, that he had waved his handkerchief and kissed it in farewell. Pisanio further says that his master had waited on deck, waving his glove or hat or handkerchief in an effort to show how slow and terrible the journey was to his soul, at the separation from his lady. Imogen is moved to tears as she elaborates on what she would have done if she were there. She has had no letter from Posthumus, but Pisanio assures her that it will come soon. Imogen is unhappy that she could not take leave of him properly, for even before she could give Posthumus a parting kiss, her father had rushed in like an intruder and separated them. She begs Pisanio to send a message to her lord, to think of her at prayers at certain fixed hours of the day, for she would then be able to meet him in her prayers. Pisanio leaves on this errand while Imogen is summoned to a meeting with the Queen.


Notes

This short scene introduces Pisanio, the faithful servant of Posthumus and Imogen. He is a typical faithful servant found in many of Shakespeare's plays. Imogen's clever witty talk is as full of enchanting sentiment as it is full of pathos. The reference to the seductive charms of Italian women with reference to Posthumus is only a playful one. It need not be taken seriously in light of her confidence in the fidelity of her husband. His reported disloyalty to her by his friend fails to inspire instant belief in her. Imogen, separated from her husband, is lost without him. She is grief- stricken and anxious for news. What comes across most clearly is her faithfulness to him. The natural imagery she suggests when describing her father as being like a North wind that "shakes all our buds from growing" reveals the impact of her loss.

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MonkeyNotes-Cymbeline by William Shakespeare
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