Please see the bottom of the page for explanatory notes.
|ACT V SCENE I ||Britain. The Roman camp.|| |
| ||Enter POSTHUMUS, with a bloody handkerchief.|| |
|POSTHUMUS LEONATUS ||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|| 10|
| ||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 bless'd to obey! I am brought hither|| |
| ||Among the Italian gentry, and to fight|| |
| ||Against my lady's kingdom: 'tis enough|
| ||That, Britain, I have kill'd thy mistress; peace!|| 20|
| ||I'll give no wound to thee. Therefore, good heavens,|| |
| ||Hear patiently my purpose: I'll disrobe me|| |
| ||Of these Italian weeds and suit myself|| |
| ||As does a Briton peasant: so I'll fight|
| ||Against the part I come with; so I'll die|| |
| ||For thee, O Imogen, even for whom my life|| |
| ||Is every breath a death; and thus, unknown,|| |
| ||Pitied nor hated, to the face of peril|| |
| ||Myself I'll dedicate. Let me make men know|
| ||More valour in me than my habits show.|| 30|
| ||Gods, put the strength o' the Leonati in me!|| |
| ||To shame the guise o' the world, I will begin|| |
| ||The fashion, less without and more within.|| |
| ||[ Exit. || |
Cymbeline, Act 5, Scene 2
Explanatory Notes for Act 5, Scene 1
From Cymbeline. A.W. Verity. Cambridge, University Press.
1-33. "This is a soliloquy of nature, uttered when the effervescence of a mind agitated and perturbed spontaneously and inadvertently discharges itself in words. The speech, if the last conceit be excepted, seems to issue warm from the heart" -- Johnson. Contrast a speech like III. 3. 79-107, where soliloquy is used simply as a piece
of dramatic machinery.
with a bloody handkerchief; sent by Pisanio as a sign that he has killed Imogen.
5. wrying, going astray.
6, 7. So Bolingbroke, having instigated Exton to rid him of
King Richard, afterwards affects displeasure (Richard II. v. 6. 30-52).
9. to put on this, to instigate the deed.
14. elder, later. "The last deed is certainly not the oldest, but Shakespeare calls the deed of an elder man an elder deed" -- Johnson.
Another editor explains: "where corruptions are, they grow with years, and the oldest sinner is the greatest. You, Gods, permit some to proceed in iniquity, and the older such are, the more their crime."
15. thrift, gain, advantage. "It is not the commission of the crimes that is supposed to be for the doer's thrift, but his dreading them afterwards, and of course repenting, which ensures his salvation" -- Mason. The whole speech, as he notes, is in a religious strain. dread it, i.e. their life of accumulated crime. For dread it, Theobald proposed dreaded: a picture of successful crime which inspires awe, gains profit, and apparently escapes punishment.
21-33. Cf. the later descriptions of the disguised Posthumus -- viz.
"forlorn," i.e. forlorn-looking, ragged (v. 5. 4), "in poor beseeming"
(v. 5. 405-409).
23. weeds, clothes.
How to cite the explanatory notes:
Shakespeare, William. Cymbeline. Ed. A.W. Verity. Cambridge, University Press, 1899. Shakespeare Online. 10 Dec. 2013. < http://www.shakespeare-online.com/plays/cymbel_5_1.html >.
How to cite the sidebar:
Mabillard, Amanda. Notes on Shakespeare. Shakespeare Online. 10 Dec. 2013. < http://www.shakespeare-online.com/plays/cymbel_5_1.html >.
Thoughts on Posthumus "One cannot choose but wish that the Poet had made [Posthumus] hold out a little more firmly against the forged or stolen evidences of his wife's infidelity, and keep his faith at least till the last and strongest item was produced. It is observable, that the Poet represents his very fullness of confidence at first as rendering him all the more liable to the reverse in the contingency that is to arrive: because he is perfectly sure that no proofs of success can be shown by Iachimo, therefore, when some such proofs are shown, he falls the more readily into the opposite state." (Henry Norman Hudson) Read on...
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