Lex-Ham Community Theater
Shakespeare Reading Series
Cymbeline

"I have not slept one wink."  says Pisanio, Posthumus' servent, in Cymbeline III,iv.  

That could also describe the reaction of readers of Cymbeline as they tried to understand the plot complexities and multitude of characters of this hard to classify play set in Britain during the first century A.D.

Three stories intertwine and come together at the end:  Imogen, the unjustly accused wife, and her husband, Posthumus; the brothers, Guiderius and Arviragus, searching for their father; and the play's namesake, Cymbeline, who defends his country against invaders.

If you like: You'll love this character in Cymbeline
Juliet, in Romeo and Juliet, as she appears to be dead Imogen
the villain, Iago, in Othello Iachamo or Cloten
the ghosts in Richard III Providence
Cinderella's wicked stepmother The Queen

Some good references for the play are:

The Story
Text of the play

SparkNotes summary of the play
Charles and Mary Lamb's Tales from Shakespeare
Background information
Cymbeline: legend and the history

Sources
Raphael Holinshead's Chronicles of England, Scotland, and Ireland.
Boccaccio's Decameron The Second Day, Nineth Novella

Film Versions
Cymbeline (1981)
Cymbeline (1913 Silent Film)

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Last updated: 08/03/02