Welcome to the LitCharts study guide on William Shakespeare's Cymbeline. Created by the original team behind SparkNotes, LitCharts are the world's best literature guides.
Cymbeline: Plot Summary
Cymbeline: Detailed Summary & Analysis
Cymbeline: Theme Wheel
Brief Biography of William Shakespeare
Historical Context of Cymbeline
Other Books Related to Cymbeline
- Full Title: Cymbeline, King of Britain
- When Written: c. 1610
- Where Written: London
- When Published: 1623
- Literary Period: The Renaissance
- Genre: Romance; Tragicomedy
- Setting: Ancient Britain
- Climax: After King Cymbeline refuses to pay tribute to the Roman Emperor, British forces under Cymbeline and Roman troops under Lucius prepare for war. Amid the chaos, Imogen, disguised as a serving-man named Fidele, looks for her husband Posthumus.
- Antagonist: The Queen, Cloten, Iachimo, the Roman invaders
Extra Credit for Cymbeline
The Astrological Connection In ancient Rome (and even in Shakespeare’s day), people looked to the stars and planets for answers to all of life’s questions. Fittingly—since Cymbeline features a Soothsayer and even the god Jupiter, accompanied by thunder and lightning—a real-life astrologer, Simon Forman, provided the first written record of the play’s performance in a 1611 diary entry.
The Indoor Theater The Globe Theatre and Shakespeare are bound together in cultural memory. While Shakespeare was part-owner of this outdoor theater, and had the majority of his plays staged there, Cymbeline was most likely performed at the Blackfriars Theatre. The Blackfriars was an indoor playhouse where Shakespeare’s troupe also acted starting in 1609. The intimate space was illuminated by candlelight, and allowed for interesting special effects via trap doors and wires.