Cymbeline

Cymbeline

Cloten Character Analysis

Read our modern English translation.
Cloten is the Queen’s son from her first marriage, and Cymbeline’s stepson. He is hotheaded, always looking to pick a fight or gamble. Though Cloten has a high opinion of himself, the Second Lord is quick to label him a smelly fool. Cloten’s ferocity manifests itself politically when he urges his stepfather to fight with Rome in pursuit of an independent Britain. Cloten deeply desires to marry Imogen, but only because of her social standing and her wealth. When Imogen refuses him, Cloten becomes singularly focused on revenge. His penchant for violence and his hubris lands him in trouble with Guiderius, who fights with him after Cloten insults his honor. Guiderius defeats Cloten in hand-to-hand combat, killing and beheading him.

Cloten Quotes in Cymbeline

The Cymbeline quotes below are all either spoken by Cloten or refer to Cloten. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Morality and Loyalty Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Simon & Schuster edition of Cymbeline published in 2003.
Act 2, Scene 1 Quotes

That such a crafty devil as is his mother
Should yield the world this ass! a woman that
Bears all down with her brain; and this her son
Cannot take two from twenty, for his heart
And leave eighteen. Alas, poor princess,
Thou divine Imogen, what thou endurest,
Betwixt a father by thy step-dame govern’d,
A mother hourly coining plots, a wooer
More hateful than the foul expulsion is
Of thy dear husband, than that horrid act
Of the divorce he’ld make! The heavens hold firm
The walls of thy dear honour, keep unshaked
That temple, thy fair mind, that thou mayst stand,
To enjoy thy banish’d lord and this great land!

Related Characters: The Second Lord (speaker), Imogen/Fidele , The Queen, Cloten
Page Number: 2.1.54-67
Explanation and Analysis:
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Act 3, Scene 1 Quotes

There be many Caesars,
Ere such another Julius. Britain is
A world by itself; and we will nothing pay
For wearing our own noses.

Related Characters: Cloten (speaker), Cymbeline
Page Number: 3.1.13-16
Explanation and Analysis:
Quotes explanation short mobile
Act 4, Scene 1 Quotes

…How fit his garments
serve me! Why should his mistress, who was made by
him that made the tailor, not be fit too? the
rather—saving reverence of the word—for ‘tis said
a woman’s fitness comes by fits. Therein I must
play the workman. I dare speak it to myself—for it
is not vain-glory for a man and his glass to confer
in his own chamber—I mean, the lines of my body are
as well drawn as his; no less young, more strong,
not beneath him in fortunes, beyond him in the
advantage of the time, above him in birth, alike
conversant in general services, and more remarkable
in single oppositions: yet this imperceiverant
thing loves him in my despite. What mortality is!
Posthumus, thy head, which now is growing upon thy
shoulders, shall within this hour be off; thy
mistress enforced; thy garments cut to pieces before
thy face: and all this done, spurn her home to her
father; who may haply be a little angry for my so
rough usage; but my mother, having power of his
testiness, shall turn all into my commendations.

Related Characters: Cloten (speaker), Imogen/Fidele , Posthumus Leonatus
Related Symbols: Disguise
Page Number: 4.1.2-22
Explanation and Analysis:
Quotes explanation short mobile
Act 4, Scene 2 Quotes

IMOGEN
I’ll follow, sir. But first, an’t please the gods,
I’ll hide my master from the flies, as deep
As these poor pickaxes can dig; and when
With wild wood-leaves and weeds I ha’ strew’d his
grave,
And on it said a century of prayers,
Such as I can, twice o’er, I’ll weep and sigh;
And leaving so his service, follow you,
So please you entertain me.

CAIUS LUCIUS
Ay, good youth!
And rather father thee than master thee.
My friends,
The boy hath taught us manly duties…

Related Characters: Imogen/Fidele (speaker), Caius Lucius (speaker), Posthumus Leonatus, Cloten
Page Number: 4.2.479-491
Explanation and Analysis:
Quotes explanation short mobile
Act 5, Scene 5 Quotes

CORNELIUS
…She did confess she had
For you a mortal mineral; which, being took,
Should by the minute feed on life and lingering
By inches waste you: in which time she purposed,
By watching, weeping, tendance, kissing, to
O’ercome you with her show, and in time,
When she had fitted you with her craft, to work
Her son into the adoption of the crown:
But, failing of her end by his strange absence,
Grew shameless-desperate; open’d, in despite
Of heaven and men, her purposes; repented
The evils she hatch’d were not effected; so
Despairing died…

CYMBELINE
Mine eyes
Were not in fault, for she was beautiful;
Mine ears, that heard her flattery; nor my heart,
That thought her like her seeming; it had
been vicious
To have mistrusted her: yet, O my daughter!
That it was folly in me, thou mayst say,
And prove it in thy feeling. Heaven mend all!

Related Characters: Cymbeline (speaker), Cornelius (speaker), Imogen/Fidele , The Queen, Cloten
Page Number: 5.5.62-84
Explanation and Analysis:
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Cloten Character Timeline in Cymbeline

The timeline below shows where the character Cloten appears in Cymbeline. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Act 1, Scene 1
Gender Roles Theme Icon
Imperialism vs. Independence Theme Icon
Nobility Theme Icon
...the death of his first. This new Queen had a son of her own, named Cloten, whom Cymbeline planned to marry to his own daughter Imogen. However, Imogen secretly married Posthumus,... (full context)
Gender Roles Theme Icon
Nobility Theme Icon
...adds, though, that everyone else around the court is secretly happy about the marriage because Cloten is so awful while Posthumus is incomparably virtuous. The gentlemen then discuss Posthumus’s past: he... (full context)
Morality and Loyalty Theme Icon
Nobility Theme Icon
...Posthumus’ absence drowns out any other feeling. When Cymbeline laments that Imogen could have married Cloten instead of the “base” Posthumus, Imogen counters that Cloten is worthless next to Posthumus—a “puttock”... (full context)
Morality and Loyalty Theme Icon
Posthumus’ servant Pisanio enters. He reports that Cloten drew his sword on Posthumus, but that no one was hurt because Posthumus merely played... (full context)
Act 1, Scene 2
Morality and Loyalty Theme Icon
Two attendants follow Cloten after his encounter with Posthumus. The First Lord urges Cloten to change his shirt since... (full context)
Morality and Loyalty Theme Icon
Nobility Theme Icon
Cloten wishes that he and Posthumus hadn’t been separated so that they could have fought in... (full context)
Act 1, Scene 5
Morality and Loyalty Theme Icon
...the poison on him because he serves Posthumus, and he is therefore an enemy to Cloten. She calls for Pisanio because she has something to tell him, and asks Cornelius to... (full context)
Morality and Loyalty Theme Icon
...crying over Posthumus, wondering if, in time, Imogen will get over her foolishness and pick Cloten. The Queen asks Pisanio’s help: if Pisanio can persuade Imogen to marry Cloten, she will... (full context)
Morality and Loyalty Theme Icon
...of this opportunity as a stroke of good luck: he’ll still has an employer, and Cloten will look favorably on him in the future. The Queen promises that she’ll obtain any... (full context)
Morality and Loyalty Theme Icon
Gender Roles Theme Icon
...Pisanio dies, Imogen will be left without allies; if she doesn’t change her mind about Cloten then, she’ll be sorry. (full context)
Act 1, Scene 6
Nobility Theme Icon
Imogen laments that she has a cruel father, a lying stepmother, a foolish suitor in Cloten (who wants to marry an already married woman), and a banished husband. Posthumus is the... (full context)
Act 2, Scene 1
Nobility Theme Icon
Cloten complains about his bad luck—he bet 100 pounds at a lawn game but lost, and... (full context)
Nobility Theme Icon
Cloten says he could have fought with the man who insulted him if they had been... (full context)
Nobility Theme Icon
The First Lord asks Cloten if he’s heard of the stranger who’s arrived at court from Italy, a friend of... (full context)
The Gods and Fate Theme Icon
Nobility Theme Icon
Cloten plans to meet the Italian gentleman in hopes of gambling with him and perhaps recovering... (full context)
Act 2, Scene 3
Morality and Loyalty Theme Icon
In the ante-chamber outside of Imogen’s rooms, the First Lord compliments Cloten on how well he bears losses—he keeps his cool and is patient when he loses,... (full context)
Gender Roles Theme Icon
The musicians arrive, and Cloten hopes that they can “penetrate” Imogen with their song. If not, he swears to never... (full context)
Morality and Loyalty Theme Icon
The Second Lord spots Cymbeline and the Queen coming their way. Cymbeline asks if Cloten is still waiting on Imogen, and if she refuses to see him. Cloten tells him... (full context)
Morality and Loyalty Theme Icon
The Queen tells Cloten that he owes a lot to Cymbeline for attempting to get Imogen to look favorably... (full context)
Morality and Loyalty Theme Icon
Cloten knocks on Imogen’s door. He knows that her ladies are attending her, and he plans... (full context)
Morality and Loyalty Theme Icon
Imogen arrives, and Cloten tries to kiss her hand, but she tells him that he’s trying too hard. Cloten... (full context)
Gender Roles Theme Icon
Nobility Theme Icon
Cloten says he can’t leave Imogen in her madness, and Imogen, in reply, calls Cloten a... (full context)
Nobility Theme Icon
Imogen calls Cloten rude, and says he is lowlier than Posthumus because of his behavior. Cloten wishes that... (full context)
Morality and Loyalty Theme Icon
Nobility Theme Icon
As Cloten reels from Imogen’s comparison, Pisanio arrives, and Imogen asks him to fetch her serving-woman since... (full context)
Forgiveness and Reconciliation Theme Icon
Cloten complains that Imogen was rude to him by comparing him to Posthumus’ “mean’st garment,” but... (full context)
Act 3, Scene 1
Imperialism vs. Independence Theme Icon
...used to not receiving the money, since they won’t pay it anymore. Echoing his mother, Cloten says they won’t see another ruler as worthy as Julius Caesar for a long time,... (full context)
Imperialism vs. Independence Theme Icon
...rocks, and Cassibelan almost defeated Caesar, except that he had a stroke of ill luck. Cloten interrupts that the British troops are stronger now than they were during the invasion, and... (full context)
Imperialism vs. Independence Theme Icon
Forgiveness and Reconciliation Theme Icon
With the lords, Cloten, and the Queen rallying behind the cause of independence, Cymbeline feels emboldened. Citing the first... (full context)
Imperialism vs. Independence Theme Icon
Nobility Theme Icon
Cloten tells Lucius that Cymbeline still welcomes him at court, and asks him to spend a... (full context)
Act 3, Scene 4
Gender Roles Theme Icon
...going back to court, because she doesn’t want to encounter her father or the awful Cloten. Pisanio suggests there is nowhere else in Britain for her. Imogen considers that the world... (full context)
Act 3, Scene 5
Imperialism vs. Independence Theme Icon
...wishes the Queen well. Cymbeline orders men to accompany Lucius. The ambassador asks to shake Cloten’s hand. Cloten agrees, saying that though they part on friendly terms, they will be enemies... (full context)
Morality and Loyalty Theme Icon
...death. Since Cymbeline’s sons disappeared long ago, if Imogen were out of the picture, then Cloten would become the likely heir to the King, giving the Queen a clear path to... (full context)
Morality and Loyalty Theme Icon
By himself onstage, Cloten explains that he admires Imogen’s beauty, but he hates how she disdains him in favor... (full context)
Morality and Loyalty Theme Icon
Forgiveness and Reconciliation Theme Icon
Cloten asks Pisanio to serve him, saying he will reward Pisanio with status and money. Pisanio... (full context)
Morality and Loyalty Theme Icon
The Gods and Fate Theme Icon
Once Pisanio returns with the clothes, Cloten asks him to bring the outfit to his bedroom, and to remain silent about serving... (full context)
Act 4, Scene 1
Nobility Theme Icon
Back in Britain, Cloten has reached Wales, near the spot where Imogen and Posthumus were supposed to meet, according... (full context)
Act 4, Scene 2
Gender Roles Theme Icon
...his sorrow with both sighs and smiles. As Belarius encourages the brothers to get going, Cloten arrives, complaining that he can’t find “those runagates” (Imogen and Posthumus). (full context)
Gender Roles Theme Icon
Belarius interprets Cloten’s remark to mean that he knows that the boys are the kidnapped princes—and thus Cloten... (full context)
Nobility Theme Icon
Cloten asks who Guiderius is, calling him and the other men “villain mountaineers.” He insults Guiderius,... (full context)
Nobility Theme Icon
...if Belarius is confused about who he saw, but Belarius is adamant that it was Cloten. Arviragus hopes that Guiderius deals with Cloten before too long, since Belarius says he’s dangerous... (full context)
Forgiveness and Reconciliation Theme Icon
Nobility Theme Icon
Carrying Cloten’s head and calling him a brainless fool, Guiderius comes back. Belarius asks him what he’s... (full context)
Nobility Theme Icon
...hunting, and he worries about Fidele. While Guiderius goes to a creek to dispose of Cloten’s head, Belarius encourages Arviragus to return to the cave and cook dinner with Fidele. Alone,... (full context)
Gender Roles Theme Icon
Nobility Theme Icon
...sing. They vow to recite it, but Belarius reminds them that they’ve forgotten all about Cloten’s body—even though he was their enemy, he was still a royal, and he deserves respect... (full context)
The Gods and Fate Theme Icon
Belarius returns and lays Cloten’s body next to Fidele’s. He tells the brothers to strew some flowers on the corpses... (full context)
Morality and Loyalty Theme Icon
...babbling about finding the way to Milford Haven. Reviving, she notices the headless body of Cloten next to her. Since the headless body is dressed in Posthumus’ clothes, she thinks it’s... (full context)
Morality and Loyalty Theme Icon
Imogen curses Pisanio. She’s sure that the servant must have plotted with Cloten to kill Posthumus out of resentment and greed. She calls Pisanio’s letters fake and thinks... (full context)
Act 4, Scene 3
Forgiveness and Reconciliation Theme Icon
...his court, Cymbeline asks a servant for news of the Queen’s health. With her son Cloten missing, she has developed a fever, and shows signs of madness. Cymbeline wishes Imogen were... (full context)
Imperialism vs. Independence Theme Icon
...Roman gentlemen recruited by the Senate. The news overwhelms Cymbeline, who wishes the Queen and Cloten were there to advise him. The lord encourages Cymbeline to take action immediately to set... (full context)
Imperialism vs. Independence Theme Icon
The Gods and Fate Theme Icon
...bloody handkerchief as “proof” that he killed Imogen. Further, he’s unsure about what happened to Cloten, but he knows the gods will work everything out. He says that through his trickery,... (full context)
Act 4, Scene 4
Nobility Theme Icon
...they go higher up into the mountains to hide. He fears that the news of Cloten’s death will arouse the suspicions of the British troops and result in their torture. (full context)
Nobility Theme Icon
...the Britons will be preoccupied with the Roman troops, and not with finding the missing Cloten. Belarius insists, though, that many soldiers in the British army will recognize Belarius from his... (full context)
Act 5, Scene 5
Forgiveness and Reconciliation Theme Icon
Nobility Theme Icon
...so that she could put her son on the throne. Once her plan failed and Cloten disappeared, she died of despair. Her ladies back up Cornelius’ account. Cymbeline says his senses... (full context)
Forgiveness and Reconciliation Theme Icon
...sympathy, but Cymbeline says the Queen was worth nothing. He wonders, though, what happened to Cloten. (full context)
Nobility Theme Icon
Pisanio explains how he used one of Posthumus’ letters to send Cloten toward Milford Haven, and how Cloten demanded to disguise himself in Posthumus’ clothes so that... (full context)
Imperialism vs. Independence Theme Icon
Forgiveness and Reconciliation Theme Icon
The Gods and Fate Theme Icon
...will, after all, pay the tribute—especially since the instigators of the war, the Queen and Cloten, received a terrible fate at the gods’ hands. (full context)