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MonkeyNotes-Cymbeline by William Shakespeare
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Act IV, Scene 3

In Cymbeline's palace, the King is anxious over the growing war and his missing daughter. The Queen is pining over the disappearance of her son and has contracted a fever and is delirious. Cymbeline is overwhelmed by these events. His beloved daughter has fled, and there is still no word of her whereabouts. Cloten is missing, and the Queen is dangerously ill. He accuses Pisanio of conspiring and assisting in Imogen's flight, but Pisanio is saved by one of the courtiers who insists that Pisanio is blameless.

The Roman troops from Gallia have landed in Britain as well as the reinforcements from Italy. Although the British troops are ready to face the enemy, Cymbeline feels lost, without the support of his Queen and Cloten and Pisanio, in a soliloquy, wonders what has happened to Imogen and Posthumus, who has sent no word about Imogen's supposed death. Cloten's absence also worries Pisanio, but he can do nothing until all his doubts are cleared by time.


Notes

With the Queen's influence weakening, Cymbeline finds himself prey to many doubts even as he faces war. His troops are ready and he bravely awaits the war, but the support and courage that Cloten and the Queen had extended earlier are now sorely missed. He feels that misfortunes have come in swarms, with Imogen gone, Cloten missing and the Queen desperately ill. His first instinct is to punish Pisanio but he gives him another chance. There is a slow change in Cymbeline as he becomes independent of the Queen's overpowering influence.

This scene has very little dramatic significance but acts to intensify the atmosphere of disorder and confusion that reigns in the royal court. Pisanio's loyalty is well tested already and needs no further evidence. His patriotism and bravery are additionally noted in this scene. However, one fact is particularly revealed in this scene: Cymbeline has a tender regard for his daughter. It becomes obvious when the old King admits that she was a great part of his comfort. The Lord's intervention on behalf of Pisanio reveals that when the Queen is not on the scene the courtiers are good enough to extend their support to the court. The political and familial turmoil is shown to be intertwined in this scene and one situation cannot improve without the other also.

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