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MonkeyNotes-Cymbeline by William Shakespeare
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Act IV, Scene 2

Belarius and his sons Guiderius and Arviragus emerge from the cave, followed by Imogen in her boy's clothes. She is ill, and the others tell her to rest while they go hunting. When one of the brothers offers to stay with her, she refuses to let him do so, as that would upset his routine. They are loath to leave Fidele alone, and profess their bond of love, which they claim is as strong as their love for their father. Belarius is amazed to hear this, and considers it nothing short of a miracle that they feel this love for some strange boy. Imogen is touched by their simple nature, and thinks of them as being more noble and genuine than the people at court. She decides to take some of the medicine that Pisanio had given her, as she feels quite sick. When Imogen goes back into the cave, Belarius and his sons set off, discussing her neatness, her talent at cooking, and her beautiful voice when she sings. They have all noticed the mingling of grief and patience in her, although they do not know the reason for it.

While they are thus engaged in conversation, Cloten enters with his sword drawn. Belarius recognizes him and is afraid that the King might have planned an ambush. Guiderius sends Belarius and Arviragus to search for any troops stationed nearby while he faces Cloten. Cloten mistakes them to be vile mountain men and is very rude when he addresses Guiderius. The proud young man is enraged at the way Cloten speaks to him and is not impressed at Cloten's revelation that he is the son of the Queen, nor does he feel terror on hearing his name. They exit, fighting.

Meanwhile, Belarius and Arviragus re-enter. They have not seen any troops or soldiers, so Arviragus feels that the older man must have mistaken the identity of the intruder. But Belarius is sure that nothing has changed in the manner of Cloten although he has grown to manhood since Belarius last saw him. They are worried at Guiderius's absence since Cloten is a fierce man. Just then, Guiderius re-enters, holding Cloten's severed head. Belarius is aghast; but as Guiderius tells him, it was either Cloten or himself, one of them had to die. Belarius tries to warn them of the possible consequences of such an action. Although they had found no troops nearby, he is convinced that Cloten would not have traveled without attendants, and it is only a matter of time before they will arrive. The brothers, however, do not share this view, and Guiderius carelessly remarks that he will float Cloten's head out to sea, where the fishes devouring him will learn of his identity. Guiderius and Arviragus leave; the former with Cloten's head and the latter with the day's hunt to find Fidele, leaving Belarius alone to ruminate. He is once again amazed at the way in which these two boys, brought up in the wild and normally gentle, are now displaying a rough, valiant, excitable side to their nature, exactly like two princes. Belarius is worried at what awaits them once Cloten's absence will be perceived at court.


Guiderius re-enters, triumphant at having sent Cloten's head downstream. All of a sudden they hear Arviragus play a dirge and he soon enters, with Imogen, lifeless in his arms. They are shocked and vent their sorrow in a eulogy as they prepare to bury her near their mother. Belarius tells them that they should also bury Cloten, for even though he was an enemy, he is now dead and should be given a decent burial. While Belarius goes to find the headless body of Cloten, the brothers sing an elegy to Imogen. Belarius appears with the body of Cloten, which they place near Imogen's. They strew flowers and herbs on the bodies and leave in sorrow.

As soon as they leave, Imogen awaken as the power of the potion has declined. She does not remember very clearly what has happened and feels that she has dreamt the stay in Belarius's cave with the kindly and loving brothers. Suddenly, she notices the headless body beside her, and recognizes Posthumus's clothes. With heart-rending grief, she curses Pisanio for joining hands with Cloten in murdering her lord. She is convinced that Pisanio had tried to kill her too, with the deadly potion, and rains curses on him. She weeps over the body, thinking it to be Posthumus.

The Roman general, Lucius, enters accompanied by a Captain, other Officers, and a Soothsayer. They talk of the readiness of the legion in Gallia and of the reinforcements from Rome, which are led by Iachimo, brother of the Prince of Syenna. They notice a headless body lying on the ground, and a page-boy weeping over it. Caius Lucius is intrigued, and the boy, who gives his name as Fidele, says that his master has been killed by wild mountain people. Lucius, impressed by the boy's loyalty, offers him employment and helps him to bury his master. Thus, Imogen achieves what she and Pisanio had planned, employment with the Roman general, even though she believes she has lost everything in the process.

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MonkeyNotes-Cymbeline by William Shakespeare
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