“Cymbeline is a pungent self-parody on Shakespeare’s part: we revisit King Lear, Othello, The Comedy of Errors, and a dozen other plays, but we see them now through a distorting lens.”

Cymbeline

Act Two, Part Two

By Dennis Abrams

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COP170395030  01To continue with Harold Bloom, who strongly disagrees with Tanner’s admiration of the play:

“Shakespeare gives a very vivid instance of antithetical technique in Act II, set in Imogen’s bedchamber, where she falls asleep reading Ovid, and Iachimo, Jack-in-the-box, comes out of the trunk to slip a bracelet off her arm (without waking her!) and gloatingly taking inventory of both the room and the sleeping princess. He notes that the leaf of Imogen’s book is turned down at the rape of Philomela by Teresus, but this comedian is no Ovidian rapist, but only Peeping Tom, who duly remarks, ‘On her left breast/A mole cinque-spotted.’

Wilson Knight, wildly off even for this wild work, thought Iachimo comparable to Iago and Edmund, which is to read a symbolically idealized play, and not Shakespeare’s Cymbeline. There is nothing in Iachimo that goes beyond the powers of any Jacobean playwright awash with Italianate villains. To call Iachimo even a ‘comic villain’ overrates him, Iago and Edmund are abysses of nihilism, endless to mediation. Iachimo is a zany, like the ridiculously unpleasant Cloten. Critics have argues that he is shrewd enough to deceive Posthumus, who is not, alas, very clever, and who joins that large company of Shakespearean husbands and lovers totally unworthy of their women. {MY NOTE:  I have to agree with Bloom on that point.] Confronting Iachimo’s ‘evidence’ of Imogen’s supposed infidelity, Posthumus becomes a parody-Othello, whose soliloquy at the end of Act II is interesting only for what it hints at in Shakespeare’s own consciousness. Something is here too strong for Posthumus:

Is there no way for men to be, but women

Must be half-workers? We are all bastards,

And that most venerable man, which I

Did call my father, was I know not where

When I was stamp’d. Some coiner with his tools

Made me a counterfeit: yet my mother seem’d

The Dian of that time: so doth my wife

The nonpareil of this. O vengeance, vengeance!

Me of my lawful pleasure she restrain’d,

And pray’d me oft forbearance: did it with

A pudency so rosy, the sweet view on’t

Might well have warm’d old Saturn, that I thought her

As chaste as unsunn’d snow. O, all the devils!

This yellow Iachimo, in an hour, was’t not?

Or less; at first? Perchance he spoke not, but

Like a full acorn’d boar, a German one,

Cried “O!’ and mounted; found no opposition

But what he look’d for should oppose and she

Should from encounter guard. Could I find out

The woman’s part in me – for there’s no motion

That tends to vice in man, but I affirm

It is the woman’s part: be it lying, not it,

The woman’s:  flattering, hers, deceiving, hers:

Ambitions, covetings, change of prides, disdain,

Nice longing, slanders, mutability;

All faults that name, may, 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 for a minute old, for one

Not half so old as that. I’ll write against them,

Detest them, curse them: yet ‘tis greater skill

In a true hate, to pray they have their will:

The very devils cannot plague them better.

(II.iv.153-86)

It is astonishing that the plodding, though virtuous, Posthumus utters this tirade, with its self-contradictory excesses. Why does Shakespeare assign this dreadfully unsympathetic outburst to Posthumus? Though gullible, Imogen’s husband is supposed to be honorable, sane, and deserving of his widely acclaimed esteem, and of his superb wife and her devotion. Subsequently, this hero sends a letter to his servant Pisanio, ordering him to murder Imogen.

There is on way, one might think, that Posthumus is salvageable, though Shakespeare insouciantly does not care. Meredith Skura, in a brilliant application of psychoanalysis to the play’s dilemmas, argues that Posthumus cannot find himself as a husband until he gets back to himself as a son, in relation to his lost family, available to him only in a dream-vision. As Skura notes, identities are very unstable in Cymbeline (I would except Imogen), perhaps more than elsewhere in Shakespeare: ‘The exaggerated complications in Cymbeline make us realize with even more force than usual that ‘reality’ finally lies in the enrichment, and the truth lies in the excess.’ I myself am more than wary of Freudian interpretations of Shakespeare, but Skura shrewdly psychoanalyzes the play’s dilemmas, and not the play or its characters.

Cymbeline is a pungent self-parody on Shakespeare’s part: we revisit King Lear, Othello, The Comedy of Errors, and a dozen other plays, but we see them now through a distorting lens. So skewed are our optics that I honor Skura’s suggestion, though the wretched Posthumus seems to me unredeemable, and I find him acceptable only in his penultimate phase, when he longs for death, so he can expiate his guilt in sentencing Imogen to the death she does not die. Even the sacred Shakespeare cannot have it every which way, and he redeems Posthumus at a high cost to the audience’s sensibilities. Yet self-parody demands such expense, and so I wish to alter the question of Cymbeline’s excess to the question of Shakespeare himself. What was he trying to do for himself as a maker of plays by the heap of self-parodies that constitute Cymbeline?”

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boydell13And since Bloom thought this was “wildly” off…from G. Wilson Knight’s The Crown of Life: Essays in Interpretation of Shakespeare’s Final Plays:

Prince:

I do not like the Tower, of any place:

Did Julius Caesar build that place, my lord?

Buckingham:

He did, my gracious lord, begin that place,

Which, since, succeeding ages have re-edified.

Prince:

Is it upon record, or else reported

Successively from age to age, he built it?

Buckingham:

Upon record, my gracious lord.

Prince:

But say, my lord, it were not register’d,

Methinks the truth should live from age to age,

As ‘twere retail’d to all posterity,

Even to the general, all-ending day.

(Richard III, III.i.68)

“It would seem that Pericles and The Winter’s Tale were followed by Cymbeline [MY NOTE:  Not quite right…] which incorporates a re-working of themes already discussed into a more comprehensive design. Cymbeline is an extremely complex work: in mastery of plot-weaving is certainly has no rival. The different stories diverge, interweave and dovetail with a striking precision and the extraordinary events march smoothly to their conclusion. The consummate plot-weaving of Twelfth Night is re-explored to hold a great range of serious themes; while a prevailing quietude reminiscent of such earlier romances overbroods and enriches the tougher conflicts of tragedy.

The play is not, however, easy of approach. The start appears dull and ineffective, and the people uninteresting. Emphasis seems to lie on plot and event without persons or atmosphere of sufficient glamour to arrest attention. Certain most subtle imagistic impressions are at work, but they are far from obvious, being split among the varying themes, and time is needed for them to accumulate mass and generate each its own particular field of meaning Cymbeline strikes one as a peculiarly studied work. All is smooth, considered and correct. The mythology, the names of places and persons, the historical effects, are all considered. Even its anachronisms appear to be planned. It is, indeed, to be regarded mainly as an historical play. Pericles and The Winter’s Tale blend Shakespeare’s early comedy with his later tragedy; Cymbeline does this too, but is also concerned to blend Shakespeare’s two primary historical interests, the Roman and the British, which meet here for the first time. These are close-knotted with the personal, tragic interest, together with the feminine idealism, of Othello and The Winter’s Tale; recent discoveries are incorporated into a national statement; and all is subdued within a melancholic harmony distantly resembling that of Twelfth Night.

First, let us inspect its national interest, concentrating on Cymbeline, his Queen and Cloten.

Of Cymbeline as a man there is little to say, but he is important as king. He is accordingly comparable with the early King John. His distress under threat of invasion resembles that of John when hearing simultaneously of the French army’s invasion and his mother’s death. (King John, IV.ii.116-132):

     Imogen,

The great part of my comfort, gone; my queen

Upon a desperate bed, and in a time

When fearful wars point at me; her son gone,

So needful for this present: it strike me, past

The hope of comfort.

(IV.iii.4)

The accent recalls Claudius in Hamlet, (IV.v.77-96). Cymbeline is less a man than a centre of tensions due to his royal office; persuaded, attacked, tugged asunder and finally reestablished by the various themes and persons.

His Queen is more firmly realized as a ‘crafty devil’ (II.i.59) and ‘mother hourly coining plots’ (II.i.66). Her considered villainy is amazing and her only unselfishness her instinctive support of her fool son, Cloten. She is a composite of Lady Macbeth and Goneril, though without the tragic dignity of the one and the cold rationality of the other. She is cruelty incarnate. We find her (I.v) sending a lady out for flowers, and next questioning Cornelius the physician about some poisoned drugs she has ordered for her scientific studies. Though she insists that she will only experiment ‘on such creatures as we count not worth the hanging,’ the physician is shocked by her unwomanly hardness: ‘Your highness shall from this practice but make hard your heart’ (I.v.19, 23). She gets, as she thinks, the drug and gives it to Pisanio. The lady brings her flowers, violets, cowslips, and primroses: the scene ends. Consummate villainy is framed by flowers, so consistently in Shakespeare associated with feminine sweetness; exactly as her wickedness is enclosed in a feminine, supposedly gentle, form.

She seems, indeed, to project some definite intuition of feminine evil running from Tamora through less tragic, but perfectly serious, examples in Adriana and Katherina the Shrew, to Lady Macbeth, the Witches, Hecate, Goneril, Regan and Dionyza, with weaker reflections in Gertrude and Cressida; which relates to the Dark lady of the Sonnets, forms part of Cleopatra, is finally symbolized in Sycorax [MY NOTE:  A witch in The Tempest], and expressed here in Posthumus’s distracted words:

Could I find out

The woman’s part in me – for there’s no motion

That tends to vice in man, but I affirm

It is the woman’s part: be it lying, not it,

The woman’s:  flattering, hers, deceiving, hers:

Ambitions, covetings, change of prides, disdain,

Nice longing, slanders, mutability;

All faults that name, may, 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 for a minute old, for one

Not half so old as that. I’ll write against them,

Detest them, curse them: yet ‘tis greater skill

In a true hate, to pray they have their will:

The very devils cannot plague them better.

The sentiments sink deep into all those Shakespearean agonies and distrust of which Hamlet’s ‘Frailty, thy name is woman! Is a central example. The Queen throughout personifies the ugly thing Posthumus suspects in Imogen.

Her death expands the slightly etched deaths of Lady Macbeth and Goneril. She suffers from ‘a fever with the absence of her son,’ a ‘madness’ endangering her life (IV.iii.2-3), but dies with a devilish clarity of mind. Her mental disorder is commented on, like Lady Macbeth’s, by the court physician, who reports her death, saying how she ended

With horror, madly dying, like her life;

Which, being cruel to the world, concluded

Most cruel to herself.

(V.v.31)

She died confessing that her love for Cymbeline and Imogen had been throughout a sham, and that she had horrible poisons ready for both; how she meant her lord to die lingeringly while she pretended to pet and nurse him; how she had planned to make Cloten king, but grew ‘shameless-desperate’ at his disappearance. All this she confesses not through penitence, but in order to spite ‘heaven and men’; and so ‘despairing died’ (V.v.57-61). She is a positive ogre, worthy of Ben Jonson, on whom Cymbeline’s comment is:

     OI most delicate fiend!

Who is’t can read a woman?

(V.v.47)

She is a considered study of extreme, specifically feminine, evil; a possessive maternal instinct impelling her violent life. She is not a caricature. The study is brief, but convincing. Cymbeline has to learn painfully the worthlessness of his wife and her, not his, son, Cloten. In the wider national reading we can feel Britain learning to reject all for which they stand.

NPG D38673; Charles Farley as Cloten in 'Cymbeline' by Thomas Woolnoth, published by  Simpkin and Marshall, after  Thomas Charles WagemanCloten is a boastful fool: his name suggests clot-pole, the term being used to jingle with his name (at IV.ii.184); a word also applied to Oswald by King Lear. We find him puffing and blowing after an interrupted duel, convinced fallaciously that he would have won it. He loses his money and his temper, swearing and striking a bystander, at bowls, and nearly involving himself in another duel. He is quarrelsome and generally obnoxious, a blustering, high-born, fool, very conscious of his rank:

When a gentleman is disposed to swear, it is not for any standers-by to curtail his oaths, ha?

(II.i.11)

And

A pox on’t. I had rather not be so noble as I am. They dare not fight with me because of the Queen my mother. Every Jackslave hath his bellyful of fighting, and I must go up and down like a cock that nobody can match.

(II.i.21)

As a study of foolish nobility he resembles Sir Andrew Aguecheek and Roderigo; and yet he is at once more intelligent, full-blooded and forceful, than those. He seems to have a genuine appreciation for Imogen (III.v.7—4) and serenades her with taste (II.iii.22). One cannot deny him a certain arrogant dignity that makes it easier to laugh behind his back (as his interlocutors do) than to his face. His high position alone, with his consciousness of it, itself gives him dramatic weight. When he questions Pisanio on Imogen’s absence, there is force in his attack:

Where is thy lady? or, by Jupiter,

I will not ask again.

(III.v.84)

and,

     Where is she sir? Come nearer,

No further halting; satisfy me home

What is become of her?

(III.v.91)

He will not be put off by flattering phrases, shouting ‘no more’ of ‘worth lord;’ threatens instant death; and finally wins, as he thinks, Pisanio’s betrayal of Posthumus, next determine to pursue Imogen ‘even to Augustus’ throne.’ Pisanio records the instant later, saying how Lord Cloten ‘came to me with his sword drawn,’ ‘foam’d at the mouth’ – a revealing phrase – and threatened him with death; how he succeeded in putting him off with a false letter; and how Cloten ‘enforced’ from his master’s garments. There is power of rank in Cloten; rather as Sir John Falstaff, though a coward (of a kind) in one context, yet automatically drives off Pistol, furious at being ‘braved’ by such a ‘rascal’; or as Sir Toby, a drunken sot, is on his mettle when Antonio or Sebastian turn his sport into a serious fight. Somewhat similarly, Pisanio is quelled by ‘Lord Cloten.’

Cloten is, however, both ridiculous and vicious. Like Sir Andrew he is vain, comparing his figure with Posthumus’ and is necessarily maddened by Imogen’s rejection of himself for a mere nobody. He is autocratic and insulting – witness his continued insults concerning Posthumus’ low birth – and has a thoroughly nasty mind, seen ins his dastardly plot to revenge himself by raping Imogen while wearing Posthumus’ garments. There is poetic justice in his death: he who has so often been saved by well-meaning courtiers from the consequences of his own quarrelsomeness, rashly insults as a ‘robber’ and ‘law-breaker’ the young Guiderius in his mountain home and, finding his rank of little service to him there, gets his deserts without delay. He is a fool and rash, but no coward; and he meets his death at the hands of no less a person than the King’s son. The conception throughout works within the limits imposed by the noble birth his very being disgraces.

King Cymbeline supports both these bad persons, banishing Posthumus mainly at the Queen’s instigation and for Cloten’s sake. Our drama shows therefore a misguided King of Britain fostering evil and folly near his throne.

Our main national interest concerns Cymbeline’s refusal to continue Britain’s tribute to Rome. The question of Britain’s islanded integrity is clearly raised; more, it is phrased. Told by Philario that he thinks the ambassador Caius Lucius will succeed in getting the tribute, since Britain has cause to remember Rome’s power, Posthumus answers:

    I do believe –

Statist though I am none, nor like to be –

That this will  prove a war; and you shall hear

The legions now in Gallia sooner landed

In our not-fearing Britain, than have tidings

Of any penny tribute paid. Our countrymen

Are man more order’d than when Julius Caesar

Smil’d at their lack of skill, but found their courage

Worthy his frowning at: their discipline –

Now winged – with their courage will make known

To their approvers they are people such

That mend upon the world.

(II.iv.15)

Posthumus’ thoughts are obvious and what we would expect from him; but what we might not expect is to find precisely the same thoughts expressed even more satisfyingly by the Queen and Cloten. The Queen and Cloten urge on Cymbeline to resistance rather as the Bastard urges on King John, Cloten’s wit definitely recalling the Bastard’s. Lucius has said how the tribute is ‘left untender’d’:

Queen:

     And, to kill the marvel,

Shall be so ever,

Cloten:

    There be many Caesars

Ere such another Julius. Britain is

A world by itself, and we will nothing pay

For wearing our own noses.

Queen:

   That opportunity,

Which then they had to take from ‘s, to resume,

We have again. Remember, sir, my liege,

The kings your ancestors, together with

The natural bravery of your isle, which stands

As Neptune’s park, ribbed and paled in

With rocks unscaleable and roaring waters,

With stands, that will not bear your enemies’ boats,

But suck them up to the topmast. A king of conquest

Caesar made here, but made not here his brag

Of ‘came and saw and overcame’; with shame –

The first that ever touch’d him – he was carried

From off our coast, twice beaten; and his shipping –

Poor ignorant baubles! – on our terrible seas,

Like egg-shells mov’d upon their surges, crack’d

As easily ‘gainst our rocks: for joy whereof

The fam’d Cassibelan, who was once at point –

O giglot fortune! – to master Caesar’s sword,

Made Lud’s town with rejoicing-fires bright,

And Britons strut with courage.

(III.i.10)

The Queen has powerfully expressed precisely the sentiments many Elizabethan Englishmen must have felt after the failure of the Spanish Armada. She is deadly serious; Cloten witty. Though told by the King to keep quiet – as the Bastard, Falstaff and Enobarbus are rebuffed in similar circumstances – he continues:

We have yet many among us can gripe as hard as Cassibelan; I do not say I am one, but I have a hand. Why tribute? why should we pay tribute? If Caesar can hide the sun from us with a blanket, or put the moon in his pocket, we will pay him tribute for light; else, sir, no more tribute, pray you now.

(III.i.40)

Cloten’s wit (so like the Bastard’s in purpose and Enobarbus’ in manner) is admirable; he for once even shows modesty. King Cymbeline continues with a speech every phrase of which raises a natural response, urging the original freedom of Britain, Caesar’s insatiate and inexcusable (‘colour’) ambition, the compulsion on a ‘war-like’ people to resist slavery, and especially the Roman’s ‘mangling’ of Britain’s traditional ‘laws’ deriving from her first king, Multutius (III.i.47-62). He reminds the ambassador that other peoples are fighting for ‘their liberties’ (III.i.73-6), an example Britain must follow. The discussion, except for Cloten’s interruptions, is on a high level of seriousness and chivalric courtesy, though Cloten’s admirable interjections remain its high lights:

His majesty bids you welcome. Make pastime with us a day or two, or longer; if you seek us afterwards in other terms, you shall find us in our salt-water girdle; if you beat us out of it, it is yours; if you fall in the adventure, our crows shall fare the better for you; and there’s an end.

(III.i.78)

This is in line with the island-patriotism of 3 Henry VI, IV.i.39-46; Richard II, II, I, 31-68; and King John, II.i.19-31. There is no more subtle praise of British independence than Cloten’s; and yet the play ends with Cymbeline’s willing payment of tribute from which, he says, he was only persuaded by his ‘wicked queen.’ How are we to read all this?

First, can we observe an impingement of the national on the more purely personal; rather as when in King Lear the French king is summarily recalled to France leaving Cordelia in charge of his army to avoid at once the danger and difficulty of soliciting our sympathy for an invading king on British soil. The problem is basic in the design of King John, where the Bastard’s abhorrence at the death of Arthur is followed by his support and indeed exhortation of the king when invasion is threatened. So here, the wicked Queen and her normally repellant son are, at this moment, primarily Britons and their reaction to the Roman threat the measure of British toughness and the island integrity of their land. Neither speak out of character: the Queen merely finds an occasion for the blameless exercise of her fierce and active temperament, urging the King (III.v.26), as Elinor urges King John and Goneril Albany, to resist invasion; while Cloten, always conscious of his birth and place and a born quarreler and swaggerer, is for once in his element without being obnoxious; the national situation serving, as often in real life, to render violent instincts respectable.

A certain incompatibility, perhaps, remains, the more so as Cloten shows many of the worst qualities habitually associated by Shakespeare with foreign travel or foreign birth; and indeed, when Imogen asserts that Posthumus’ ‘meanest garment’ is of more worth to her than a number of Clotens, and Cloten repeats and reiterates the phrase after her exit in a puerile tantrum, one is reminded of Austria in King John and the Bastard’s repetition of Constance’s line, ‘And hang a calf-skin on those recreant limbs.’ The Queen and Cloten, though British and the upholders of Britain’s integrity, are nevertheless conceived as types which Cymbeline, that is Britain, must fully reject. So too Richard III, villain thou he be, can under threat of invasion show a tough patriotism not unlike the Bastard’s (at King John, V.ii.128-58):

Let’s whip these straggler o’er the sea again;

Lash hence these overweening rags of France…

(Richard III,V.iii.328)

His whole speech forms an admirable commentary on Cymbeline. But we find here no scorn of the invader, for Shakespeare honors Rome almost equally with Britain, with a respect that rings in Lucius’ line, so reminiscent of the Roman tragedies (e.g. Antony and Cleopatra), ‘A Roman with a Roman’s heart can suffer.’ Understanding of Shakespeare’s Roman sympathy is vitally necessary. A final solution to our difficulties is hinted by Cymbeline’s remark to Lucius earlier (in our diplomatic scene) that

Thy Caesar knighted me; my youth I spent

Much under him; of him I gather’d honour;

Which he, to seek of me again, perforce,

Behoves me keep at utterance.

(III.i.70)

In modern phraseology the speech says: ‘It has been Britain’s destiny, as a nation, to spend its youth under Roman tutelage, drawing virtue from her traditions; and yet any too forceful assertion by Rome of her own superiority must negate the very virtues we have learnt and be resisted to the last.’ That is, the knightly ‘honour’ Cymbeline has drawn from Rome’s favor must be defended, if need be, against Rome herself, slavery being incompatible with the chivalric virtues. Though the phraseology enlists associations of a later age, Shakespeare is definitely envisaging the youth of Britain: careless as he often is of anachronisms, he never in Cymbeline allows the word ‘England’ to intrude.

The play’s action dramatizes the only possible solution. The Romans invade and the British at first fail, Cymbeline being captures; he is however rescued by Bellarius and by his own (unrecognized) sons, whose efforts are seconded by Posthumus, by (i) the royal boys and (ii) Posthumus (representative, as we shall see, of British manhood). The action is given first in dumb-show (V.iii.14), but afterwards described by Posthumus:

…These three,

Three thousand confident, in act as many –

For three performers are the file when all

The rest can do nothing – with this word, ‘Stand! stand!’

Accommodated by the place, more charming

With their own nobleness – which could have turn’d

A distaff to a lance – gilded pale looks,

Part shame, part spirit renew’d; that some, turn’d coward

But by example – O! a sin of war,

Damn’d in the first beginners – ‘gan to look

The way they did, and to grin like lions

Upon the pikes o’ the hunters. Then began

A stop i’the chaser, a retire, anon,

A route, confusion thick; forthwith they fly

Chickens, the way which they stoop’d eagles; slaves,

The strides they victors made. And now our cowards –

Like fragments in hard voyages – became

The life o’ the need…

(V.iii.28)

It is a long speech, in that cramped interjectory style variously used by Shakespeare for expression of nervous disorder; here breathless excitement and exhaustion. The disadvantages are obvious; the defence, that the pot seems to rely on a succession of impressionistic flashes, whose logic and grammar are (to a listener) obscure, to build an intentionally vague yet always expectant sense of something that needs time, must be strung out in length, if the experience is to be fully assimilated. Something similar may occur in philosophic passages; as in the labouring of one thought, giving it various expressions, throughout Ulysses ‘order’ speech. Such speeches generally conclude with a simple summing up of the meaning for which the listener’s mind has been half-consciously prepared, as in Ulysses’

To end a tale of length

Troy in our weakness lives, not in her strength.

So here our hazy sense of a rout turned to victory is finally given clear imprint by the Lord’s

This was strange chance:

A narrow lane, an old man, and two boys!

On another level, we can say that, after living in the experience and expressing it as he wishes, the poet wisely recognizes that his play fails unless the meanest member of his audience knows what has happened.

cymbeline photo queenSo Britain wins. But, having won, King Cymbeline learns of his Queen’s wickedness and agrees, willingly, to pay tribute to Rome:

     And Caius Lucius,

Although the victor, we submit to Caesar,

And to the Roman Empire; promising

To pay our wonted tribute, from the which

We were dissuaded by our wicked queen.

(V.v.460)

Britain’s integrity is to be no hot-headed self-assertion; it must learn to reject such influences as the Queen and Cloten; and to recognize, but freely, its Roman inheritance and obligation. So the action marches to its stately conclusion:

    Set we forward: let

A Roman and a British ensign wave

Friendly together; so through Lud’s town march…

(V.v.480)

Such is the massive union, not unlike the union of lovers in a happy-ending romance, that our play dramatizes; a kind of majestic marriage, where we are to imagine that the partners ‘lived happily ever afterwards.’”

I know Wilson is getting far ahead of way we are in the play, but it think it’s valuable to read this now as a way of getting idea of the many alternative views of the play as a way of our being able to read and see it from differing angles.  And to ask ourselves as we continue on if Tanner, Bloom, Garber, and now Wilson are all reading the same play.  Is Cymbeline so complex and so ambiguous that it’s a kind of dramatic Rorschach test?

——————————-

Our next reading:  Act Three of Cymbeline

My next post:  Thursday evening/Friday morning

Enjoy

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