William Shakespeare

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Soothsayer (Philarmonus) Character Analysis

Read our modern English translation.
The Soothsayer Philarmonus is employed by Lucius to interpret signs from the gods. Before the battle, he has a vision of a Roman eagle, which signifies victory in the upcoming British invasion. He clarifies later, though, that he saw an eagle vanish in the sun’s rays, which foretold the reconciliation between the Britons and the Romans. He also interprets the confusing prophecy which Jupiter leaves on the sleeping Posthumus’ chest, reading it as a prediction that Posthumus and Imogen will reunite, the princes will return to Cymbeline, and that Britain will enjoy “peace and plenty.”

Soothsayer (Philarmonus) Quotes in Cymbeline

The Cymbeline quotes below are all either spoken by Soothsayer (Philarmonus) or refer to Soothsayer (Philarmonus). 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 5, Scene 5 Quotes

The fingers of the powers above do tune
The harmony of this peace. The vision
Which I made known to Lucius, ere the stroke
Of this yet scarce-cold battle, at this instant
Is full acomplish’d; for the Roman eagle,
From south to west on wing soaring aloft,
Lessen’d herself, and in the beams o’ the sun
So vanish’d: which foreshow’d our princely eagle,
The imperial Caesar, should again unite
His favour with the radiant Cymbeline,
Which shines here in the west.

Related Characters: Soothsayer (Philarmonus) (speaker), Cymbeline
Related Symbols: Eagles
Page Number: 5.5.571-581
Explanation and Analysis:
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Cymbeline PDF

Soothsayer (Philarmonus) Character Timeline in Cymbeline

The timeline below shows where the character Soothsayer (Philarmonus) appears in Cymbeline. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Act 4, Scene 2
Imperialism vs. Independence Theme Icon
The Gods and Fate Theme Icon
Lucius asks his Soothsayer for his prediction on the battle’s outcome. The Soothsayer reports having a vision of Jove’s... (full context)
Act 5, Scene 5
Morality and Loyalty Theme Icon
Imperialism vs. Independence Theme Icon
Lucius, Iachimo, the Soothsayer, and other Romans enter, along with Posthumus and Imogen (still disguised as Fidele). Cymbeline takes... (full context)
Imperialism vs. Independence Theme Icon
Forgiveness and Reconciliation Theme Icon
The Gods and Fate Theme Icon
Posthumus asks Lucius to call his Soothsayer to decipher the tablet. Philarmonus enters, and reads the prophecy. He explains that Posthumus is... (full context)
Imperialism vs. Independence Theme Icon
Forgiveness and Reconciliation Theme Icon
The Gods and Fate Theme Icon
The Soothsayer reiterates Cymbeline’s call for harmony, saying that the gods are orchestrating this peace. He explains... (full context)