Cymbeline

Posthumus Leonatus Character Analysis

Read our modern English translation.
Posthumus received his name because he was born after the death of his father, the fierce soldier Sicilius Leonatus. He is a Roman with wealth, but not a royal. Cymbeline raised Posthumus in his court, and Posthumus and Imogen grew up together before falling in love and secretly marrying. After Cymbeline banishes Posthumus because of the marriage, Posthumus and his friend Iachimo bet over the strength of Imogen’s fidelity. Less loyal and trusting than Imogen, Posthumus is quick to take Iachimo’s evidence against his wife as true, and he asks his servant to kill Imogen—a decision which he comes to regret. Posthumus himself admits to the Frenchman that in his youth, he was liable to listen more closely to others’ opinions than his own, but throughout the play, Posthumus grows to trust in his own conscience—even if that comes with the price of regret. He fights bravely in the battle between the Romans and Britons, but switches his uniform according to which side is losing, since he hopes to be captured and killed as penance for ordering Imogen’s death. After a dream vision of Jupiter assures him that all will be well, Posthumus is relieved to reconcile with his wife, who survived the death sentence. He promises to always be by her side.

Posthumus Leonatus Quotes in Cymbeline

The Cymbeline quotes below are all either spoken by Posthumus Leonatus or refer to Posthumus Leonatus. 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 1, Scene 1 Quotes

IMOGEN
…This diamond was my mother’s: take it, heart;
But keep it till you woo another wife,
When Imogen is dead.

POSTHUMUS
How, how! another?
You gentle gods, give me but this I have,
And sear up my embracements from a next
With bonds of death!
…for my sake wear this;
It is a manacle of love; I’ll place it
Upon this fairest prisoner.

Related Characters: Imogen/Fidele (speaker), Posthumus Leonatus (speaker)
Related Symbols: Gold and Jewelry
Page Number: 1.1.132-145
Explanation and Analysis:
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Act 1, Scene 3 Quotes

I did not take my leave of him, but had
Most pretty things to say: ere I could tell him
How I would think on him at certain hours
Such thoughts and such, o I could make him swear
The shes of Italy should not betray
Mine interest and his honour…

Related Characters: Imogen/Fidele (speaker), Posthumus Leonatus
Page Number: 1.3.31-36
Explanation and Analysis:
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Act 1, Scene 4 Quotes

POSTHUMUS
What lady would you choose to assail?

IACHIMO
Yours; whom in constancy you think stands so safe.
I will lay you ten thousand ducats to your ring,
that, commend me to the court where your lady is,
with no more advantage than the opportunity of a
second conference, and I will bring from thence
that honour of hers which you imagine so reserved.

Related Characters: Posthumus Leonatus (speaker), Iachimo (speaker), Imogen/Fidele
Related Symbols: Gold and Jewelry
Page Number: 1.4.122-128
Explanation and Analysis:
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Act 2, Scene 2 Quotes

As slippery as the Gordian knot was hard!
'Tis mine; and this will witness outwardly,
As strongly as the conscience does within,
To the madding of her lord. On her left
A mole cinque-spotted, like the crimson drops
I' the bottom of a cowslip: here's a voucher,
Stronger than ever law could make: this secret
Will force him think I have pick'd the lock and ta'en
The treasure of her honour. No more. To what end?
Why should I write this down, that's riveted,
Screw'd to my memory? She hath been reading late
The tale of Tereus; here the leaf's turn'd down
Where Philomel gave up. I have enough:
To the trunk again, and shut the spring of it.
Swift, swift, you dragons of the night, that dawning
May bare the raven's eye! I lodge in fear;
Though this a heavenly angel, hell is here.

Related Characters: Iachimo (speaker), Imogen/Fidele , Posthumus Leonatus
Page Number: 2.2.36-52
Explanation and Analysis:
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Act 2, Scene 4 Quotes

…Let there be no honour
Where there is beauty; truth, where semblance; love
Where there’s another man: the vows of women
Of no more bondage be, to where they are made,
Than they are to their virtues; which is nothing.
O, above measure false!

Related Characters: Posthumus Leonatus (speaker), Imogen/Fidele , Iachimo
Page Number: 2.4.140-145
Explanation and Analysis:
Quotes explanation short mobile
Act 2, Scene 5 Quotes

…For there’s no motion
That tends to vice in man, but I affirm
It is the woman’s part: be it lying, note it,
The woman’s; flattering, hers; deceiving, hers;
Lust and rank thoughts, hers, hers; revenge, hers;
Ambitions, covetings, change of prides, disdain,
Nice longing, slanders, mutability,
All faults that may be named, nay, that hell knows,
Why, hers, in part or all; but rather, all;
For even to vice
They are not constant but are changing still
One vice, but of a minute old, for one
Not half so old as that.

Related Characters: Posthumus Leonatus (speaker), Imogen/Fidele
Page Number: 2.5.20-32
Explanation and Analysis:
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Act 3, Scene 2 Quotes

How? of adultery? Wherefore write you not
What monster’s her accuser? Leonatus,
O master! what a strange infection
Is fall’n into thy ear! What false Italian,
As poisonous-tongued as handed, hath prevail’d
On thy too ready hearing? Disloyal! No:
She’s punish’d for her truth, and undergoes,
More goddess-like than wife-like, such assaults
As would take in some virtue. O my master!
Thy mind to her is now as low as were
Thy fortunes. How! that I should murder her?
Upon the love and truth and vows which I
Have made to thy command? I, her? her blood?
If it be so to do good service, never
Let me be counted serviceable.

Related Characters: Pisanio (speaker), Imogen/Fidele , Posthumus Leonatus
Page Number: 3.2.1-15
Explanation and Analysis:
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Act 3, Scene 4 Quotes

Why, I must die;
And if I do not by thy hand, thou art
No servant of thy master’s…
Thus may poor fools
Believe false teachers: though those that
are betray’d
Do feel the treason sharply, yet the traitor
Stands in worse case of woe.
And thou, Posthumus, thou that didst set up
My disobedience ‘gainst the king my father
And make me put into contempt the suits
Of princely fellows, shalt hereafter find
It is no act of common passage, but
A strain of rareness: and I grieve myself
To think, when thou shalt be disedged by her
That now thou tirest on, how thy memory
Will then be pang’d by me. Prithee, dispatch:
The lamb entreats the butcher: where’s thy knife?
Thou art too slow to do thy master’s bidding,
When I desire it too.

Related Characters: Imogen/Fidele (speaker), Posthumus Leonatus, Pisanio
Page Number: 3.4.80-106
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:
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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:
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Act 4, Scene 3 Quotes

I heard no letter from my master since
I wrote him Imogen was slain: ‘tis strange:
Nor hear I from my mistress who did promise
To yield me often tidings: neither know I
What is betid to Cloten; but remain
Perplex’d in all. The heavens still must work.
Wherein I am false I am honest; not true, to be true.
These present wars shall find I love my country,
Even to the note o’ the king, or I’ll fall in them.
All other doubts, by time let them be clear’d:
Fortune brings in some boats that are not steer’d.

Related Characters: Pisanio (speaker), Cymbeline, Imogen/Fidele , Posthumus Leonatus
Page Number: 4.3.46-56
Explanation and Analysis:
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Act 5, Scene 1 Quotes

Yea, bloody cloth, I’ll keep thee, for I wish’d
Thou shouldst be colour’d thus. You married ones,
If each of you should take this course, how many
Must murder wives much better than themselves
For wrying but a little! O Pisanio!
Every good servant does not all commands:
No bond but to do just ones. Gods! If you
Should have ta’en vengeance on my faults, I never
Had lived to put on this: so had you saved
The noble Imogen to repent, and struck
Me, wretch more worth your vengeance. But, alack,
You snatch some hence for little faults; that’s love,
To have them fall no more: you some permit
To second ills with ills, each elder worse,
And make them dread it, to the doers’ thrift.
But Imogen is your own: do your best wills,
And make me blest to obey!

Related Characters: Posthumus Leonatus (speaker), Imogen/Fidele , Pisanio
Page Number: 5.1.1-17
Explanation and Analysis:
Quotes explanation short mobile
Act 5, Scene 4 Quotes

No more, you petty spirits of region low,
Offend our hearing; hush! How dare you ghosts
Accuse the thunderer, whose bolt, you know,
Sky-planted batters all rebelling coasts?
Poor shadows of Elysium, hence, and rest
Upon your never-withering banks of flowers:
Be not with mortal accidents opprest;
No care of yours it is; you know ‘tis ours.
Whom best I love I cross; to make my gift,
The more delay’d, delighted. Be content;
Your low-laid son our godhead will uplift:
His comforts thrive, his trials well are spent.
Our Jovial star reign’d at his birth, and in
Our temple was he married. Rise, and fade.
He shall be lord of lady Imogen,
And happier much by his affliction made.
This tablet lay upon his breast, wherein
Our pleasure his full fortune doth confine:
and so, away: no further with your din
Express impatience, lest you stir up mine.
Mount, eagle, to my palace crystalline.

Related Symbols: Eagles
Page Number: 5.4.Lines 96-116
Explanation and Analysis:
Quotes explanation short mobile
Act 5, Scene 5 Quotes

IMOGEN
Why did you throw your wedded lady from you?
Think that you are upon a rock; and now
Throw me again.

Embracing him

POSTHUMUS LEONATUS
Hang there like a fruit, my soul,
Till the tree die!

Related Characters: Imogen/Fidele (speaker), Posthumus Leonatus (speaker)
Page Number: 5.5.315-320
Explanation and Analysis:
Quotes explanation short mobile

IACHIMO
[Kneeling] I am down again:
But now my heavy conscience sinks my knee,
As then your force did. Take that life, beseech you,
Which I so often owe: but your ring first;
And here the bracelet of the truest princess
That ever swore her faith.

POSTHUMUS LEONATUS
Kneel not to me:
The power that I have on you is, to spare you;
The malice towards you to forgive you: live,
And deal with others better.

CYMBELINE
Nobly doom’d!
We’ll learn our freeness of a son-in-law;
Pardon’s the word to all.

Related Characters: Cymbeline (speaker), Posthumus Leonatus (speaker), Iachimo (speaker)
Related Symbols: Gold and Jewelry
Page Number: 5.5.510-522
Explanation and Analysis:
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Posthumus Leonatus Character Timeline in Cymbeline

The timeline below shows where the character Posthumus Leonatus 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
...Cloten, whom Cymbeline planned to marry to his own daughter Imogen. However, Imogen secretly married Posthumus, a “poor but worthy gentleman.” Enraged at this disobedience, Cymbeline has just ordered that Posthumus... (full context)
Gender Roles Theme Icon
Nobility Theme Icon
...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 is the son of a... (full context)
Morality and Loyalty Theme Icon
Nobility Theme Icon
The gentlemen exit when they notice the Queen, Posthumus, and Imogen approaching. As the Queen enters, she assures Imogen that she will take care... (full context)
Morality and Loyalty Theme Icon
Gender Roles Theme Icon
...Imogen exclaims that her stepmother’s promises are nothing more than “dissembling courtesy.” She then tells Posthumus that she will endure her father’s wrath, but only in the hope that she might... (full context)
Morality and Loyalty Theme Icon
Alone once again, Posthumus and Imogen can’t make themselves say goodbye. Imogen gives Posthumus her mother’s diamond ring to... (full context)
Forgiveness and Reconciliation Theme Icon
Nobility Theme Icon
...they will meet again, Cymbeline enters in a rage, attended by several lords. Cymbeline insults Posthumus and commands him to leave at once. Posthumus wishes Cymbeline well, blesses everyone in the... (full context)
Forgiveness and Reconciliation Theme Icon
The Queen returns, and Cymbeline scolds her for allowing Imogen and Posthumus to be alone together. The Queen pleads for Cymbeline to leave her alone with Imogen... (full context)
Morality and Loyalty Theme Icon
Posthumus’ servant Pisanio enters. He reports that Cloten drew his sword on Posthumus, but that no... (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 he is sweaty and he... (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 earnest, and he marvels that... (full context)
Act 1, Scene 3
Morality and Loyalty Theme Icon
...arranged meeting, Imogen tells Pisanio that she misses her husband already. She asks Pisanio about Posthumus’ last words before sailing to Italy, and he replies that Posthumus simply repeated “my queen,... (full context)
Forgiveness and Reconciliation Theme Icon
Imogen asks when they will hear from Posthumus, and Pisanio assures her that Posthumus will send word as soon as he is on... (full context)
Act 1, Scene 4
The Gods and Fate Theme Icon
...Rome, Iachimo—a Roman nobleman whose father was Duke of Siena, and a friend of Philario—describes Posthumus to Philario. According to Iachimo, people in Britain expected Posthumus to grow up to be... (full context)
Nobility Theme Icon
Iachimo thinks that because Posthumus has married the princess Imogen, he will seem more worthy than he actually is; people... (full context)
Nobility Theme Icon
Iachimo asks Philario why he’s planning to host Posthumus. Philario explains that he fought alongside Posthumus’ father Sicilius Leonatus, and that Sicilius saved his... (full context)
Nobility Theme Icon
The Frenchman welcomes Posthumus, mentioning that they met previously in Orleans. Posthumus says that he owes the Frenchman a... (full context)
Gender Roles Theme Icon
Imperialism vs. Independence Theme Icon
...assures him that it’s fine, since the argument was public. The man from Orleans and Posthumus were talking about their girlfriends. Posthumus told the men that the woman he loved was... (full context)
Gender Roles Theme Icon
Imperialism vs. Independence Theme Icon
While Posthumus holds firm in his opinion, Iachimo doesn’t quite believe him, since he doesn’t think British... (full context)
The Gods and Fate Theme Icon
Nobility Theme Icon
Posthumus tells Iachimo that he is mistaken in the way he looks at the diamond ring... (full context)
Morality and Loyalty Theme Icon
Gender Roles Theme Icon
Iachimo says that Posthumus may have his wife’s love now, but he warns Posthumus that while he is away,... (full context)
Morality and Loyalty Theme Icon
Balking at Iachimo’s suggestion, Posthumus says that Italy has no such suitor to tempt his wife, and while he is... (full context)
Morality and Loyalty Theme Icon
Gender Roles Theme Icon
Iachimo says he’ll bet half of his belongings against Posthumus’ ring that he can woo any woman in the world. According to Iachimo, it’s Posthumus’... (full context)
Gender Roles Theme Icon
Nobility Theme Icon
...their discussion of a wager, but this only emboldens Iachimo, who wishes he’d bet more. Posthumus asks him to specify which woman he wants to attempt to seduce; Iachimo says he... (full context)
Morality and Loyalty Theme Icon
Gender Roles Theme Icon
Posthumus says he would rather bet gold than his ring, since the ring is as precious... (full context)
Morality and Loyalty Theme Icon
Gender Roles Theme Icon
Provoked, Posthumus says that he’ll lend Iachimo his ring until Iachimo returns from Britain. He says they... (full context)
The Gods and Fate Theme Icon
...gods that it’s a bet, and that if he doesn’t bring evidence that he’s seduced Posthumus’ beloved, then he will owe Posthumus ten thousand ducats and his ring back. If Iachimo... (full context)
Act 1, Scene 5
Morality and Loyalty Theme Icon
...rascal” and reveals that she plans to use the poison on him because he serves Posthumus, and he is therefore an enemy to Cloten. She calls for Pisanio because she has... (full context)
Morality and Loyalty Theme Icon
...leaves on the Queen’s urging. She then asks Pisanio if Imogen is still crying over Posthumus, wondering if, in time, Imogen will get over her foolishness and pick Cloten. The Queen... (full context)
Morality and Loyalty Theme Icon
...asks Pisanio to give Imogen an accurate picture of how bad her situation is with Posthumus in exile, as though it that were Pisanio’s own opinion. She asks him to think... (full context)
Morality and Loyalty Theme Icon
Gender Roles Theme Icon
...ladies, and alone onstage, the Queen remarks that Pisanio is sneaky, and his loyalty to Posthumus and Imogen is hard to shake. She thinks that Pisanio is spying for his banished... (full context)
Act 1, Scene 6
Nobility Theme Icon
...suitor in Cloten (who wants to marry an already married woman), and a banished husband. Posthumus is the greatest reason for her sadness, whereas the others just add to her annoyance.... (full context)
Morality and Loyalty Theme Icon
...the stranger is. Pisanio tells her that Iachimo is a Roman gentleman with letters from Posthumus. Imogen goes pale, and Iachimo reassures her that Posthumus is safe and sends her warm... (full context)
Morality and Loyalty Theme Icon
Imogen reads aloud Posthumus’ letter praising Iachimo; he writes that Iachimo has a wonderful reputation, and that Posthumus owes... (full context)
Morality and Loyalty Theme Icon
Gender Roles Theme Icon
Imogen asks Iachimo if Posthumus is well, and Iachimo assures her he is. She asks if he’s happy, and Iachimo... (full context)
Morality and Loyalty Theme Icon
The Gods and Fate Theme Icon
Imogen replies that she hopes her husband isn’t one such man, but Iachimo says that Posthumus isn’t using the gifts the gods gave him well. He says he pities two people,... (full context)
Morality and Loyalty Theme Icon
...punished in hell. Imogen fears that her husband has forgotten Britain, and Iachimo adds that Posthumus has forgotten himself. But he says he must tell Imogen the truth because she is... (full context)
Morality and Loyalty Theme Icon
Forgiveness and Reconciliation Theme Icon
Mentioning how lucky Posthumus is to have such a wife, Iachimo swears that Imogen is trustworthy and perfectly good.... (full context)
Morality and Loyalty Theme Icon
Then, Iachimo asks Imogen for one small favor. He, Posthumus, and other friends brought a present of silver and jewels for the Emperor, and Iachimo... (full context)
Act 2, Scene 1
Nobility Theme Icon
...if he’s heard of the stranger who’s arrived at court from Italy, a friend of Posthumus. Cloten calls Posthumus a “banished rascal,” and asks if it would be proper to go... (full context)
The Gods and Fate Theme Icon
Nobility Theme Icon
...and stepmother undermine her. He prays that her honor remains intact until she reunites with Posthumus. (full context)
Act 2, Scene 2
Morality and Loyalty Theme Icon
...the bedchamber’s physical layout and prays that Imogen will stay asleep. He steals the bracelet Posthumus gave her, noting that showing it to Posthumus will drive him crazy. For even stronger... (full context)
Act 2, Scene 3
Morality and Loyalty Theme Icon
...to woo her with music, but she hasn’t responded. Cymbeline explains that Imogen hasn’t forgotten Posthumus, and he tells Cloten to give it time—before long, she’ll forget about Posthumus and will... (full context)
Gender Roles Theme Icon
Nobility Theme Icon
...all. Cloten counters that Imogen sinfully disobeys her father’s wishes, saying that her marriage to Posthumus isn’t legally binding, and that Posthumus is a lowlife raised on charity. He reminds Imogen... (full context)
Nobility Theme Icon
Imogen calls Cloten rude, and says he is lowlier than Posthumus because of his behavior. Cloten wishes that Posthumus would rot in Italy, and Imogen says... (full context)
Morality and Loyalty Theme Icon
Nobility Theme Icon
...Cloten is pestering her. She also asks Pisanio to tell her lady to look for Posthumus’ bracelet, which she seems to have lost in the night. Pisanio vows that it will... (full context)
Forgiveness and Reconciliation Theme Icon
Cloten complains that Imogen was rude to him by comparing him to Posthumus’ “mean’st garment,” but Imogen doesn’t take back the insult. Cloten says he will tell Cymbeline,... (full context)
Act 2, Scene 4
Forgiveness and Reconciliation Theme Icon
Back in Italy, Posthumus feels sure that the King will come around to him, just as he feels sure... (full context)
Imperialism vs. Independence Theme Icon
...and pay the tribute. Otherwise, the Romans will invade again, and Cymbeline will regret it. Posthumus, on the other hand, thinks that the Britons will rebel against Roman rule, since they... (full context)
Morality and Loyalty Theme Icon
Philario spots Iachimo entering and welcomes him. Posthumus marvels at the speed with which Iachimo returned, and hopes that he came back so... (full context)
Imperialism vs. Independence Theme Icon
...arrived at the British court. Iachimo informs Philario that Cymbeline was still waiting for Lucius. Posthumus says that there can’t be trouble, in that case. (full context)
Morality and Loyalty Theme Icon
Posthumus asks Iachimo where the ring is. Iachimo replies that he would travel a long way... (full context)
Morality and Loyalty Theme Icon
Posthumus needs proof before he concedes defeat. If he doesn’t get that proof, then he’ll fight... (full context)
Morality and Loyalty Theme Icon
...details Imogen’s bedchamber. He describes the tapestries which illustrate Cleopatra meeting her Roman lover Antony. Posthumus allows that the description is true, but Iachimo could have just heard about it. Iachimo... (full context)
Morality and Loyalty Theme Icon
Again, Iachimo shows Posthumus the bracelet, and asks him to go pale with shock. Posthumus asks if that is... (full context)
Morality and Loyalty Theme Icon
Gender Roles Theme Icon
Posthumus looks at the ring and meditates that beauty and honor don’t go together, nor do... (full context)
Morality and Loyalty Theme Icon
Gender Roles Theme Icon
Iachimo swears he got the bracelet from Imogen, which makes Posthumus believe that his story is true. Imogen wouldn’t have lost the bracelet that he thought... (full context)
Morality and Loyalty Theme Icon
Gender Roles Theme Icon
Posthumus takes this as final confirmation that Iachimo has stained Imogen’s honor, and exclaims that Imogen’s... (full context)
Act 2, Scene 5
Morality and Loyalty Theme Icon
Gender Roles Theme Icon
Alone, Posthumus rails against women. He claims that due to their frailty and sexual infidelity, women only... (full context)
Morality and Loyalty Theme Icon
Gender Roles Theme Icon
Nobility Theme Icon
Posthumus wonders how long it took for Imogen and Iachimo to go from just meeting to... (full context)
Act 3, Scene 2
Morality and Loyalty Theme Icon
Reading a letter from his master, Pisanio feels dismayed by its contents. Posthumus has asserted that Imogen was unfaithful to him, and has ordered Pisanio to kill Imogen... (full context)
Morality and Loyalty Theme Icon
Pisanio can hardly believe that Posthumus is ordering him to kill Imogen, which leaves Pisanio is in a quandary: should he... (full context)
Morality and Loyalty Theme Icon
The Gods and Fate Theme Icon
Pisanio hands Posthumus’ second letter to Imogen. She recognizes the handwriting, and asks the gods for her husband... (full context)
Act 3, Scene 4
Morality and Loyalty Theme Icon
Having arrived at Milford Haven, Imogen asks Pisanio why she doesn’t see Posthumus there. She thinks that Pisanio looks confused and scared, and when she asks him what’s... (full context)
Morality and Loyalty Theme Icon
Imogen reads the letter aloud. Posthumus writes that Imogen has been unfaithful, and that he has proof of her infidelity. He... (full context)
Morality and Loyalty Theme Icon
Posthumus’ accusations shock Imogen. If being unfaithful means weeping for her husband and lying awake missing... (full context)
Morality and Loyalty Theme Icon
...and Sinon, who allowed the Trojan Horse to enter within his city’s walls. Imogen claims Posthumus will join their ranks, setting a bad example for good men. (full context)
Morality and Loyalty Theme Icon
Despite her distress with Posthumus, Imogen intends to die according to his order. She takes out Pisanio’s sword, hands it... (full context)
Morality and Loyalty Theme Icon
Forgiveness and Reconciliation Theme Icon
Pisanio tells Imogen that Posthumus’ command disturbed him so much that he hasn’t slept since receiving it. Imogen asks him... (full context)
Gender Roles Theme Icon
...Haven with the Roman troops. Imogen can disguise herself in a man’s clothing and find Posthumus among the invading Roman troops. (full context)
Act 3, Scene 5
Morality and Loyalty Theme Icon
The Queen describes how Imogen has isolated herself since Posthumus left, and that she needs time to get over him. She begs Cymbeline to go... (full context)
Morality and Loyalty Theme Icon
...She wonders where Imogen went, but hopes that Imogen, in despair, has fled to find Posthumus, or to meet her death. Since Cymbeline’s sons disappeared long ago, if Imogen were out... (full context)
Morality and Loyalty Theme Icon
...that he admires Imogen’s beauty, but he hates how she disdains him in favor of Posthumus. Pisanio enters, and Cloten demands to know if Imogen is with Posthumus. If Pisanio doesn’t... (full context)
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...Pisanio with status and money. Pisanio agrees, and Cloten asks him to fetch some of Posthumus’ clothes. When Pisanio leaves to retrieve the clothing, Cloten reveals his plan to the audience:... (full context)
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...he will only pretend to be loyal to Cloten, but will really stay true to Posthumus and Imogen. He explains that since Imogen will by now be under Lucius’ command, Cloten... (full context)
Act 3, Scene 6
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...men were really her brothers, because then she wouldn’t be heir to the kingdom, and Posthumus might have seemed her social equal. (full context)
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...cave, so unlike the court, and wishes she could be friends with these men, because Posthumus isn’t trustworthy. Belarius invites Fidele to rest while the men prepare dinner, and then they’ll... (full context)
Act 4, Scene 1
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Back in Britain, Cloten has reached Wales, near the spot where Imogen and Posthumus were supposed to meet, according to Pisanio. Alone, Cloten rages against Imogen’s choice of Posthumus... (full context)
Act 4, Scene 2
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...the headless body of Cloten next to her. Since the headless body is dressed in Posthumus’ clothes, she thinks it’s her husband—even claiming that she recognizes his figure. She compares his... (full context)
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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 that he gave... (full context)
Act 4, Scene 3
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...leave to prepare for war, and Pisanio addresses the audience. He has not heard from Posthumus since he sent the bloody handkerchief as “proof” that he killed Imogen. Further, he’s unsure... (full context)
Act 5, Scene 1
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Posthumus enters alone, holding a bloody handkerchief—the “proof” that Pisanio followed through with the order to... (full context)
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Posthumus then addresses Pisanio (who’s not onstage), laying some of the blame on him, since servants... (full context)
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Next, Posthumus calls out to the gods. He claims that he is such a terrible sinner that... (full context)
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Posthumus comforts himself with the fact that Imogen is with the gods in peace, away from... (full context)
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Posthumus explains how he has come back to Britain. Italian nobles brought him to fight on... (full context)
Act 5, Scene 2
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...to mimic the movement of troops in battle. Dressed up as a poor British soldier, Posthumus enters the stage again, fighting with Iachimo. Posthumus wins the fight, disarms Iachimo, and leaves. (full context)
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...to defeat the British peasant he just fought with (who, as it turns out, was Posthumus in disguise). Iachimo concludes that noble titles and knighthood must not have any real value,... (full context)
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...only thing that can stop the brothers from successfully freeing Cymbeline is their own fear. Posthumus re-enters and joins Belarius, Guiderius, and Arviragus—they rescue Cymbeline, and leave the battle. (full context)
Act 5, Scene 3
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Posthumus encounters a British lord who ran away from the battle. He doesn’t blame the lord... (full context)
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Posthumus marvels at the old man and the two young men he worked with to free... (full context)
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The lord is amazed at this strange twist of fate. Posthumus insists that the lord is only amazed because he just heard about the battle, instead... (full context)
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Posthumus can’t believe that the lord who is retreating is noble. He thinks aloud about the... (full context)
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Since the British have won, Posthumus decides to change out of his British disguise back into his Roman uniform. He won’t... (full context)
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As Posthumus muses on the battle, British captains and soldiers enter. The first captain praises the gods... (full context)
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The first captain notices Posthumus, and asks him for his identity. Posthumus answers that he is a Roman, abandoned by... (full context)
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...Belarius, Guiderius, Arviragus, Pisanio, soldiers and attendants enter with Roman captives. The British captains present Posthumus to Cymbeline. The King passes Posthumus off to a jailer, and the whole group leaves. (full context)
Act 5, Scene 4
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Posthumus is locked up in his cell. The jailers invite him to eat whatever he can... (full context)
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Posthumus wonders if simply feeling sorry for his misdeed is enough to gain forgiveness. He explains... (full context)
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In a dream, Posthumus has a vision. Accompanied by a sad song, the ghost of Posthumus’ father, Sicilius Leonatus,... (full context)
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...his role as father to the orphaned, and says that he should have looked after Posthumus and protected him from harm as only a father can. (full context)
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Next, the ghost of Posthumus’ mother explains that she died in childbirth after having a caesarean section to save Posthumus’... (full context)
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Because Posthumus is without equal, the First Brother asks who else could have caught Imogen’s eye—especially since... (full context)
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Sicilius turns the criticism from others to Posthumus himself. He asks Posthumus why he would allow Iachimo to spoil his noble heart and... (full context)
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...the sake of Tenantius, Cymbeline’s father, showing loyalty and honor. The First Brother comments that Posthumus has been just as loyal and helpful to Cymbeline, and asks Jupiter why the god... (full context)
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Sicilius echoes his son, asking Jupiter not to punish the brave Britons. Posthumus’ mother implores the god to take away Posthumus’ pain, since he is a good person.... (full context)
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...favor all the more once it comes. Jupiter assures the ghosts that he will save Posthumus, explaining that the trials he is enduring are good for him. (full context)
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Jupiter has always had a special connection to Posthumus. Posthumus was born under Jupiter’s star and he married Imogen in Jupiter’s temple. Promising that... (full context)
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...and Sicilius insists that they should go back to Elysium after putting the tablet on Posthumus’ chest. (full context)
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With the ghosts gone, Posthumus wakes up and exclaims that he saw his father, mother, and two brothers. He laments... (full context)
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Posthumus discovers the tablet and remarks how beautiful it is. He hopes that its content is... (full context)
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The First Jailer returns and asks if Posthumus is ready for death. Posthumus answers that he has long awaited it. The First Jailer... (full context)
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Just then, a messenger enters, telling the First Jailer to remove Posthumus’ shackles and bring him to Cymbeline. Posthumus says that this is good news and that... (full context)
Act 5, Scene 5
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Lucius, Iachimo, the Soothsayer, and other Romans enter, along with Posthumus and Imogen (still disguised as Fidele). Cymbeline takes a jab at Lucius, saying he and... (full context)
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...to step forward. Fidele asks Iachimo where he obtained his ring. The boy’s request puzzles Posthumus. Cymbeline repeats Fidele’s question, and Iachimo is relieved to reveal the truth. He explains that... (full context)
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Imogen steps forward to calm Posthumus, but Posthumus hits her, thinking that she is just a page boy talking out of... (full context)
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Reunited at last, Imogen and Posthumus embrace and swear never to go apart from each other. Cymbeline asks Imogen to pay... (full context)
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Pisanio explains how he used one of Posthumus’ letters to send Cloten toward Milford Haven, and how Cloten demanded to disguise himself in... (full context)
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...Cymbeline orders Lucius’ release and wishes once again that he could reward the peasant soldier. Posthumus reveals that he himself was that soldier, asking Iachimo to back him up, as they... (full context)
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Posthumus asks Lucius to call his Soothsayer to decipher the tablet. Philarmonus enters, and reads the... (full context)