Cymbeline | Study Guide

William Shakespeare

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Course Hero. "Cymbeline Study Guide." Course Hero. 2 Apr. 2018. Web. 19 Sep. 2018. <https://www.coursehero.com/lit/Cymbeline/>.

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Course Hero. (2018, April 2). Cymbeline Study Guide. In Course Hero. Retrieved September 19, 2018, from https://www.coursehero.com/lit/Cymbeline/

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Course Hero. "Cymbeline Study Guide." April 2, 2018. Accessed September 19, 2018. https://www.coursehero.com/lit/Cymbeline/.

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Course Hero, "Cymbeline Study Guide," April 2, 2018, accessed September 19, 2018, https://www.coursehero.com/lit/Cymbeline/.

Cymbeline | Act 1, Scene 2 | Summary

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Summary

Near Cymbeline's palace, Cloten enters with two lords. Cloten boasts about his altercation with Posthumus, complaining that Posthumus refused to put up a good fight. The first lord is congratulatory, but the second lord ridicules Cloten in a series of under-the-breath comments.

Analysis

In the previous scene, the queen's son Cloten was discussed but not introduced. For example, Imogen called Cloten a "puttock"—a bird similar to a buzzard—while she called Posthumus an "eagle." And the first gentleman had called Cloten "a thing / Too bad for bad report."

In this scene we finally meet Cloten, who turns out to be more of a braggart than a real threat, despite his tendency to violence. The scene is made up of Cloten's description of his encounter with Posthumus and the opposite responses of his two courtiers. To each bragging statement or complaint Cloten makes, such as his complaint that Posthumus would not "stand" and fight with him, the first lord flatters Cloten in the most obvious and fawning terms. The second lord makes a snarky aside ridiculing Cloten. This scene and other scenes with these three characters provide most of the comedy of the play. It establishes Cloten as a ridiculous fool, not unlike Othello's Roderigo. It also creates an unflattering caricature of the noble class as parasitic creatures who must stay attached to Cloten because of his position, despite his obvious flaws as a person.
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