William Shakespeare

Cymbeline

A British princess marries a poor gentleman against her father the King’s wishes.

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Description

King Cymbeline had plans to arrange the marriage between his daughter Imogen and his son-in-law Cloten. Instead, she secretly marries Posthumus Leonatus, a poor gentleman. Before Cymbeline banishes Posthumus, Imogen is gifted a beautiful bracelet that she vows never to remove, while Posthumus is given an expensive ring.

While on his way to Rome, Posthumus meets Iachimo, who is heading to Britain, and the two make a bet: If Iachimo can seduce Imogen and provide proof of her adultery, Posthumus must hand over his ring.

Cymbeline is set in pre-Roman Britain during the 1st century AD. The plot is inspired by the story of King Cunobeline, most likely sourced from Holinshed’s Chronicles. Shakespeare also drew from other sources; Boccaccio Decameron tells of a similar wager involving hiding in a trunk.

This Modern Serial edition is based on William George Clark and William Aldis Wright’s 1887 Victoria edition, which is taken from the Globe edition.