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* {{Postmodernism}}: "Shall's have a play of this?"
* RagsToRoyalty


Basically, the play is a mishmash of plots Shakespeare regularly used in other plays. One interesting aspect of it, though, is that the characters can be read as [[RealitySubtext allusions to Jacobean figures]]. James of England is Cymbeline, who wishes for unity and peace. The play also emphasizes the concept of "Britain" -- the word appears more in this play than any other Shakespeare play, while the word "England" appears not a once.

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Basically, the play is a mishmash of plots Shakespeare regularly used in other plays. One interesting aspect of it, though, is that the characters can be read as [[RealitySubtext allusions to Jacobean figures]]. James of England is Cymbeline, who wishes for unity and peace. The play also emphasizes the concept of "Britain" -- the word appears more in this play than any other Shakespeare play, while the word "England" appears not a once.
once, averting the common anachronism of making reference to England before its existence.


''Cymbeline'', a tragicomedy by Creator/WilliamShakespeare, is one the Bard's more obscure plays. Borrowed, barely, from Celtic lore, it tells the story of a king who rebels against Rome because of his evil wife. For unrelated reasons, his daughter spends most of the play cross-dressing and looking for her banished husband. Actually, [[SecondaryCharacterTitle it's more about the latter than the former]].

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''Cymbeline'', a tragicomedy by Creator/WilliamShakespeare, is one the Bard's more obscure plays. Borrowed, barely, from Celtic lore, lore and from a story from ''Literature/TheDecameron'', it tells the story of a king who rebels against Rome because of his evil wife. For unrelated reasons, his daughter spends most of the play cross-dressing and looking for her banished husband. Actually, [[SecondaryCharacterTitle it's more about the latter than the former]].


%% * TwoLinesNoWaiting

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%% * TwoLinesNoWaitingTwoLinesNoWaiting: The two main plotlines in the play concern the unjustly accused Imogen and the misled Posthumus.


* {{Arcadia}}

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* {{Arcadia}}{{Arcadia}}: Guiderius and Arviragus has always lived with their adoptive father Belarius, far from civilization, subsisting on what nature provides them with.



* {{Expy}}: Iachimo essentially means "little Iago"; some have argued he's supposed to be a toned-down version of ''Theatre/{{Othello}}'''s infamous villain. Like Iago, Iachimo sets out to make a husband suspicious of his wife's fidelity, [[spoiler:though in ''Cymbeline'', tragedy is averted and the couple is reconciled at the end.]]

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* {{Expy}}: Iachimo essentially means "little Iago"; some have argued he's supposed to be a toned-down version of ''Theatre/{{Othello}}'''s infamous villain. Like Iago, Iachimo sets out to make a husband suspicious of his wife's fidelity, [[spoiler:though though in ''Cymbeline'', tragedy is averted and the couple is reconciled at the end.]]



* {{Infodump}}: By the time he wrote this play, Shakespeare really couldn't be bothered to find an elegant way to do backstory. Good luck following the dialogue between the two gentlemen at the beginning of Act One.

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* {{Infodump}}: By the time he wrote this play, Shakespeare really couldn't be bothered to find an elegant way to do backstory. Good luck following the The dialogue between the two gentlemen at the beginning of Act One. act one basically amounts to "Oh, did you hear about the entire backstory to this play?"



* IntimateMarks: Imogen, the heroine, has a mole under one of her breasts. Iachimo is able to falsely win a bet that he could seduce her, by spying on her while sleeping, and noting this distinguishing mark.

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* IntimateMarks: Imogen, the heroine, has a mole under one of her breasts. Iachimo is able to falsely win a bet that he could seduce her, by spying on her while sleeping, sleeping and noting this distinguishing mark.



* OffWithHisHead: Thus ends the life of [[spoiler: Cloten in battle with Guiderius.]]

to:

* OffWithHisHead: Thus ends the life of [[spoiler: Cloten in battle with Guiderius.]]



* SuicideByCop: Ancient version--Posthumus, feeling guilty for causing Imogen's death (or at least he thinks that he did), plans to die in battle with the Romans.
* SuspiciouslySpecificDenial: The Queen tells Imogen she's not a WickedStepmother... without anyone else broaching the subject in the first place.

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* SuicideByCop: Ancient version--Posthumus, feeling guilty for causing Imogen's death (or at least he thinks who wrongly believes that he did), caused the death of Imogen (who in fact is alive), feels so guilty about it that he plans to die in battle with the Romans.
* SuspiciouslySpecificDenial: The Queen tells Imogen she's not a WickedStepmother... without anyone even though nobody else broaching broached the subject in the first place.



* TwoLinesNoWaiting
* WickedStepmother: Lampshaded in that one of the Queen's first lines is declaring that she is not like the wicked stepmothers of the tales. (She ''totally is''.)
* WrongfulAccusationInsurance

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%% * TwoLinesNoWaiting
* WickedStepmother: Lampshaded Discussed in that one of the Queen's first lines is declaring that she is not like the wicked stepmothers of the tales. (She ''totally is''.)
* WrongfulAccusationInsuranceWrongfulAccusationInsurance: Guiderius gets off scot-free after murdering Cloten.


* HonorBeforeReason

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* HonorBeforeReasonHonorBeforeReason: One of Posthumus' main flaws. He agrees to a wager which, if lost, will require him to forfeit a ring which he has solemnly sworn to keep forever. This is not the first time he has entered a quarrel over Imogen's virtue.


** So to sum things up: Clotus just happened to be near Belarius's family, and just happened to say the exact wrong thing at the very worst moment to say it, and just happened to be rude to a man hot-tempered enough to kill him over it, and just happened to be killed through beheading, and just happened to have his head buried in a different spot than his body, and just happened to be dressed exactly like Posthumus, and just happened to have a body near-identical to Posthumus's.
* CrazyJealousGuy: Posthumus, in typical Shakespearean tradition (see also Theatre/{{Othello}} and [[Theatre/TheWintersTale Leontes]]).

to:

** So to sum things up: Clotus Cloten just happened to be near Belarius's family, and just happened to say the exact wrong thing at the very worst moment to say it, and just happened to be rude to a man hot-tempered enough to kill him over it, and just happened to be killed through beheading, and just happened to have his head buried in a different spot than his body, and just happened to be dressed exactly like Posthumus, and just happened to have a body near-identical to Posthumus's.
* CrazyJealousGuy: Posthumus, in typical Shakespearean tradition (see also [[Theatre/MuchAdoAboutNothing Claudio]], Theatre/{{Othello}} and [[Theatre/TheWintersTale Leontes]]).Leontes]]). At the very least, unlike them, he doesn't wait until ''after'' finding out his wife was innocent before repenting of his jealousy.



* FauxDeath

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* FauxDeathFauxDeath: Imogen is presumed dead thanks to the cordial Pisanio gave her thinking it a restorative; the Queen gave it to him thinking it a poison, but it was actually a deep sleeping draught thanks to the forsight of Cornelius.



* GodSaveUsFromTheQueen

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* GodSaveUsFromTheQueenGodSaveUsFromTheQueen: The Queen attempts to poison Imogen, and persuades Cymbeline to antagonise Caesar.



* NotWhatItLooksLike

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* NotWhatItLooksLikeNotWhatItLooksLike: Iachimo secretly gains entrance to Imogen's room, memorises the details within and the distinguishing marks on her body, and steals her bracelet, to make Postumus think her unfaithful.



* SweetPollyOliver

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* SweetPollyOliverSweetPollyOliver: Imogen disguises herself as a boy called Fidele with Pisanio's help, to escape the wrath of Posthumus.


* OffWithHisHead: Thus ends the life of [[spoiler: Cloten in battle with ]]

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* OffWithHisHead: Thus ends the life of [[spoiler: Cloten in battle with Guiderius.]]

Added DiffLines:

* ExactWords: When confronting Posthumus with fabricated signs of Imogen's supposed infidelity, Iachimo swears by Jupiter that he had the ring "from her arm" (as opposed to her having lost it). This is technically true, because he ''stole'' it from her arm while she was asleep.


* DeathSeeker: Posthumus becomes one out of remorse over his attempted orchestration of Imogen's death (which, unbeknownst to him, did not succeed). He returns to fight for Britain, strips himself of his armour and fights against the heavily-armed Roman soldiers, but successfully fends them off and rescues the king. He then dresses up as a Roman soldier and tries to get killed in battle, but is instead captured.

to:

* DeathSeeker: Posthumus becomes one out of remorse over his attempted orchestration of (unbeknownst to him, unsuccessful) attempt on Imogen's death (which, unbeknownst to him, did not succeed).life. He returns to fight for Britain, strips himself of his armour and fights against the heavily-armed Roman soldiers, but successfully fends them off and rescues the king. He then dresses up as a Roman soldier and tries to get killed in battle, but is instead captured.


* DeathSeeker: Posthumus becomes one out of remorse over his orchestration of Imogen's death (which, unbeknownst to him, did not succeed). He returns to fight for Britain, strips himself of his armour and fights against the heavily-armed Roman soldiers, but successfully fends them off and rescues the king. He then dresses up as a Roman soldier and tries to get killed in battle, but is instead captured.

to:

* DeathSeeker: Posthumus becomes one out of remorse over his attempted orchestration of Imogen's death (which, unbeknownst to him, did not succeed). He returns to fight for Britain, strips himself of his armour and fights against the heavily-armed Roman soldiers, but successfully fends them off and rescues the king. He then dresses up as a Roman soldier and tries to get killed in battle, but is instead captured.


* DeathSeeker: Posthumus becomes one after mistakenly believing his orchestration of Imogen's death successful. He returns to fight for Britain, with the aim either of dying in the war or of being put to death by Cymbeline.

to:

* DeathSeeker: Posthumus becomes one after mistakenly believing out of remorse over his orchestration of Imogen's death successful. (which, unbeknownst to him, did not succeed). He returns to fight for Britain, with strips himself of his armour and fights against the aim either of dying in heavily-armed Roman soldiers, but successfully fends them off and rescues the war or of being put king. He then dresses up as a Roman soldier and tries to death by Cymbeline.get killed in battle, but is instead captured.

Added DiffLines:

* DeathSeeker: Posthumus becomes one after mistakenly believing his orchestration of Imogen's death successful. He returns to fight for Britain, with the aim either of dying in the war or of being put to death by Cymbeline.


** So why doesn't the physical body strike her as being strangely unlike Posthumus's body? Because Cloten's body just happens to be similar enough to Postuhums's to be confused for it by Imogen in the state she's in.

to:

** So why doesn't the physical body strike her as being strangely unlike Posthumus's body? Because Cloten's body just happens to be similar enough to Postuhums's Posthumus' to be confused for it by Imogen in the state she's in.


We learn that Cymbeline's Queen has convinced him to stop paying tribute to Rome, so Rome is about to attack. Due to circumstances[[note]]The Queen, who is evil, gives Imogen a potion that Imogen believes is medicine but the Queen knew was a deadly poison except it turns out that the doctor who the Queen asked for poison didn't trust her and just gave her a sleeping potion; while she's sleeping, Imogen's brothers kill the Queen's son, who has the hots for Imogen and was out looking for her, and when she wakes up she thinks he's Posthumus. ''Whew!''[[/note]], Imogen believes Posthumus is dead, and Posthumus regrets murdering her; she mourns, and he tries to kill himself by first fighting for Britain against Rome, then switching into Roman garb when the Britons win. Jupiter, the god, shows up to say he'll protect Posthumus. The next day, Posthumus is brought out as a prisoner, and one by one the cast shows up to explain the plot. Everyone lives happily ever after, except the Queen, who dies; with her dead, Cymbeline decides to start paying tribute to Rome again.

to:

We learn that Cymbeline's Queen has convinced him to stop paying tribute to Rome, so Rome is about to attack. Due to circumstances[[note]]The Queen, who is evil, gives Imogen a potion that Imogen believes is medicine but the Queen knew was a deadly poison except it turns out that the doctor who the Queen asked for poison didn't trust her and just gave her a sleeping potion; while she's sleeping, Imogen's brothers kill behead the Queen's son, son Cloten, who has the hots for Imogen and was out looking for her, and when she wakes up she thinks he's Posthumus.Posthumus since his head's gone and he's dressed in Posthumus's clothes. ''Whew!''[[/note]], Imogen believes Posthumus is dead, and Posthumus regrets murdering her; she mourns, and he tries to kill himself by first fighting for Britain against Rome, then switching into Roman garb when the Britons win. Jupiter, the god, shows up to say he'll protect Posthumus. The next day, Posthumus is brought out as a prisoner, and one by one the cast shows up to explain the plot. Everyone lives happily ever after, except the Queen, who dies; with her dead, Cymbeline decides to start paying tribute to Rome again.



* ContrivedCoincidence: Possibly the grandest one in any Shakespeare play. Imogen erroneously thinks that her husband Posthumus is dead when she just so happens to see Cloten's dead body, dressed like Posthumus, and she confuses him for Posthumus. How did that come about? Well, let's handle all the required coincidences one by one:
** Wandering the mountains where Guiderius, Arviragus and Belarius live, Cloten is searching for Imogen and Posthumus. Cloten says aloud that he "cannot find those runagates" (or "runaways," to use the modern term). He doesn't just think this--he states it aloud, and he does so just at the moment when the three are within hearing distance.
** Erroneously, they assume that Cloten is searching for them, since Cloten doesn't mention the names of Imogen or Posthumus, or any other detail that would make it clear to Belarius and his sons that they're not the ones Cloten's after.
** Guiderius talks to Cloten to try to gauge the situation, and is not recognized. But Cloten is so insulting that Guiderius responds in kind, and ends up killing him even though he didn't pose any real threat.
** Once this is over, Imogen is seemingly killed by the queen's poison, and is laid on the grave of the mother of Arviragus and Guiderius. They place Cloten's body here too, out of respect. He was a bad man, but being killed is punishment enough.
** When Imogen wakes up, she doesn't recognize the familiar sight of Cloten's face--because he was beheaded, and Belarius and his sons buried his head at a different spot from his body, in accordance with Celtic burial practices that requires his head to be buried to the East.
** Of course, Imogen isn't going to just assume that any and all beheaded bodies must belong to Cloten. But now she does, because Cloten is dressed in Posthumus's stolen clothes.
** Okay, and why did Cloten dress in Posthumus's clothes? Because Imogene once told Cloten that even if the hairs on his head were to turn into men, each one every bit as good a fellow as Cloten, then all those men still wouldn't be as dear to her as even the clothes on Posthumus's body are. Cloten's dressed in Posthumus's stolen clothes as a reference to that--in other words, he was ''not even trying'' to disguise his identity in the first place.
** So why doesn't the physical body strike her as being strangely unlike Posthumus's body? Because Cloten's body just happens to be similar enough to Postuhums's to be confused for it by Imogen in the state she's in.
** So to sum things up: Clotus just happened to be near Belarius's family, and just happened to say the exact wrong thing at the very worst moment to say it, and just happened to be rude to a man hot-tempered enough to kill him over it, and just happened to be killed through beheading, and just happened to have his head buried in a different spot than his body, and just happened to be dressed exactly like Posthumus, and just happened to have a body near-identical to Posthumus's.



* [[FriendlyEnemy Friendly Enemies]]: Cymbeline and Lucius

to:

* [[FriendlyEnemy Friendly Enemies]]: Cymbeline and LuciusLucius.



* HiddenBackupPrince : Two of them, actually.

to:

* HiddenBackupPrince : HiddenBackupPrince: Two of them, actually.



* IntimateMarks: Imogen, the heroine, has a mole under one of her breasts. Iachmo is able to falsely win a bet that he could seduce her, by spying on her while sleeping, and noting this distinguishing mark.

to:

* IntimateMarks: Imogen, the heroine, has a mole under one of her breasts. Iachmo Iachimo is able to falsely win a bet that he could seduce her, by spying on her while sleeping, and noting this distinguishing mark.



* ItWasAGift : Innogen gives Posthumus a ring, Posthumus gives Innogen a bracelet. (Iachimo effectively steals both.)
* LampshadeHanging: The Queen tells Imogen she's not a WickedStepmother (she's lying, of course).

to:

* ItWasAGift : Innogen ItWasAGift: Imogen gives Posthumus a ring, Posthumus gives Innogen Imogen a bracelet. (Iachimo effectively steals both.)
* LampshadeHanging: The Queen tells Imogen she's not a WickedStepmother (she's lying, of course).
)



* OffWithHisHead: Thus ends the life of [[spoiler: Cloten in battle with ]]



* SecondaryCharacterTitle
* SignatureItemClue: Iachimo "proves" that he seduced Posthumus' wife by showing him a bracelet which he claims the wife gave to him; in reality he sneaked into her bedchamber while she was asleep and stole it.
* SuicideByCop: Ancient version -- Posthumus, feeling guilty for (so he thinks) killing Imogen, plans to die in battle with the Romans.

to:

* SecondaryCharacterTitle
SecondaryCharacterTitle: Cymbeline doesn't show up much in the play, and it's not really about him.
* SignatureItemClue: Iachimo "proves" that he seduced Posthumus' wife Imogen by showing him a bracelet which he claims the wife that Imogen gave to him; in reality he sneaked into her bedchamber while she was asleep and stole it.
* SuicideByCop: Ancient version -- Posthumus, version--Posthumus, feeling guilty for (so causing Imogen's death (or at least he thinks) killing Imogen, thinks that he did), plans to die in battle with the Romans.Romans.
* SuspiciouslySpecificDenial: The Queen tells Imogen she's not a WickedStepmother... without anyone else broaching the subject in the first place.



* ThoseTwoGuys: The creatively named First Lord and Second Lord who exist to explain the prologue and to play the StraightMan to TheClown Cloten. Productions frequently have the same two actors play First and Second Soldier, and First and Second Jailer who have similar parts.

to:

* ThoseTwoGuys: The creatively named First Lord and Second Lord who exist to explain the prologue and to play the StraightMan to TheClown the more comical Cloten. Productions frequently have the same two actors play playing First and Second Soldier, and Soldier also play the roles of First and Second Jailer Jailer, who have similar parts.

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