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MonkeyNotes-Cymbeline by William Shakespeare
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Notes

This scene falls into three well-defined parts. The first part depicts the departure of the Roman ambassador, leaving the prospect of an impending war in his wake. The second part begins with an inquiry about Imogen's absence and Cymbeline's anxiety over her disappearance. The third part consists of the encounter between Cloten and Pisanio, from whom Cloten tries to extort information about Imogen's plans both by threatening and tempting him with rewards in turn.

The dramatic twists and turns that carry the plot forward are fomed into two intertwined strands: the political situation arising out of Cymbeline's refusal to pay the tribute, and the tragic love of Posthumus and Imogen. Unable to bear the situation at court any longer, Imogen enthusiastically responds to her husband's summons to meet him on the Welsh coast. She feigns illness and lets the Queen know that she is indisposed; then she locks her chambers, and escapes with Pisanio. The King, the Queen and Cloten are so busy with the Roman messenger Lucius, and the discussions regarding the tribute, that no one notices her absence until Lucius leaves the court. But here, the Queen's role is suspect, for she does not inform the King of Imogen's indisposition, and the reason why she is not surprised or upset at the princess' flight becomes clear later on.


The other important development in this scene is Cloten's decisions to pursue Imogen. Unlike his mother, who would rather see her gone, Cloten loves and hates Imogen at the same time. He notes that her beauty and goodness "outsells" others, a phrase that reveals how Cloten sees her as a commodity yet he is still angry and hurt from her spiteful comments and therefore seeks revenge on her. This perverted love urges him to dress in Posthumus's clothes and proceed to Wales where having killed Posthumus, he might wreak vengeance on Imogen. His pursuit of Imogen in Posthumus's dress and his intention to kill her lover and return her to her father reveal the villainous counterpart of the fool's mind. His scheming is not guided by intelligence or ardor but by spite and therefore that his plan may backfire is a good possibility. He is ill-mannered and obtuse and thinks he can claim Imogen as his own through sheer might rather than wit or honor.

Pisanio's cleverness is seen here in his ability to pander to Cloten and the Queen without revealing his true intentions. Although he is being deceptive, he is only playing along with their schemes in order to assist Posthumus and Imogen more effectively.

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