Cymbeline | Study Guide

William Shakespeare

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Cymbeline | Scene Summaries

See Scene Summaries Chart

Timeline of Events

  • One day

    Imogen and Posthumus say their good-byes.

    Act 1, Scene 1
  • Later that day

    Pisanio reports that Posthumus has left for Rome.

    Act 1, Scene 3
  • Short time later

    Posthumus arrives in Rome and makes a bet with Iachimo.

    Act 1, Scene 4
  • Short time later

    Iachimo attempts to seduce Imogen.

    Act 1, Scene 6
  • That night

    Iachimo sneaks out of the trunk and observes Imogen sleeping.

    Act 2, Scene 2
  • Next morning

    Cloten serenades Imogen.

    Act 2, Scene 3
  • Some time later

    Iachimo gives Posthumus "proof" of Imogen's adultery.

    Act 2, Scene 5
  • Soon after

    Imogen goes into hiding as the young man Fidele.

    Act 3, Scene 4
  • Short time later

    Fidele comes to the cave of Belarius.

    Act 3, Scene 6
  • Soon after

    Cloten also comes to the cave of Belarius and is killed.

    Act 4, Scene 2
  • Some time later

    Belarius and his "sons" join battle against the Romans.

    Act 4, Scene 4
  • During the battle

    Posthumus, in disguise, defeats Iachimo in battle.

    Act 5, Scene 2
  • After the battle

    All living main characters appear before Cymbeline.

    Act 5, Scene 5
  • Same time

    Disguises are revealed, and confessions are made. All ends happily.

    Act 5, Scene 5

Scene Summaries Chart

Scene Summary
Act 1, Scene 1 A brief dialogue between two gentlemen introduces events that occur before the opening action in the play. It is reveale... Read More
Act 1, Scene 2 Near Cymbeline's palace, Cloten enters with two lords. Cloten boasts about his altercation with Posthumus, complaining t... Read More
Act 1, Scene 3 At the palace, Pisanio tells Imogen that Posthumus repeatedly declared his love for Imogen as he left on the ship for Ro... Read More
Act 1, Scene 4 At the home of Philario in Rome, several men converse about Posthumus. One is Iachimo, a nobleman, and another is a Fren... Read More
Act 1, Scene 5 At the king's palace, the queen is having her ladies gather herbs and flowers for her. She has had Cornelius, her doctor... Read More
Act 1, Scene 6 Iachimo arrives at Cymbeline's palace, intending to win his bet with Posthumus. He tells Imogen that Posthumus is enjoyi... Read More
Act 2, Scene 1 Meanwhile, Cloten has been gambling. He's lost a good deal, but he manages to keep bragging anyway. He describes an alte... Read More
Act 2, Scene 2 In her bedroom at night, Imogen has been reading. She speaks to one of her ladies—Helen—then falls asleep. Iachimo emerg... Read More
Act 2, Scene 3 In the morning, Cloten arrives near Imogen's bedroom with his two lords. He has been gambling unsuccessfully all night a... Read More
Act 2, Scene 4 At Philario's home in Rome, Posthumus and Philario are discussing a conflict between Rome and Britain that may ignite a ... Read More
Act 2, Scene 5 In a long soliloquy, delivered while he is alone onstage, Posthumus is undone by his sense of betrayal and has some hars... Read More
Act 3, Scene 1 At Cymbeline's palace, Caius Lucius has arrived with a message from Emperor Augustus Caesar of Rome. Because Julius Caes... Read More
Act 3, Scene 2 In another part of the palace, Pisanio has become upset after reading a letter in which Posthumus has instructed Pisanio... Read More
Act 3, Scene 3 In Cambria, an old man called Morgan (whose true name is Belarius) converses with his two sons, Polydor and Cadwal, who ... Read More
Act 3, Scene 4 Imogen and Pisanio have traveled to Milford Haven. Unable to keep his secret, Pisanio shows her the other letter he rece... Read More
Act 3, Scene 5 Back at the king's palace, Caius Lucius takes his leave. Cymbeline wonders where Imogen is and sends a servant to find h... Read More
Act 3, Scene 6 In Cambria, Imogen—dressed now as a young man—searches for Milford Haven. She is exhausted, afraid, and hungry, so when ... Read More
Act 3, Scene 7 In Rome, three Roman officials discuss the plans emperor Augustus Caesar is making for war against Britain. Many Roman s... Read More
Act 4, Scene 1 Cloten, wearing Posthumus's clothes, has arrived in Cambria and happens to be near the home of Belarius. Cloten is confi... Read More
Act 4, Scene 2 At the home of Belarius, Imogen talks to Belarius's "sons," and they again remark on their feelings of brotherly love fo... Read More
Act 4, Scene 3 At the palace, Cymbeline is beset with problems, including the illness and apparent insanity of his queen whose son has ... Read More
Act 4, Scene 4 The war between Britain and Rome is now in full swing. There is fighting near the home of Belarius. The three men can he... Read More
Act 5, Scene 1 Posthumus is at the camp of the Roman army, having come with Iachimo and the others to fight against Britain on the Roma... Read More
Act 5, Scene 2 As the battle rages, the disguised Posthumus fights with Iachimo, defeating Iachimo and confiscating his weapon. Iachimo... Read More
Act 5, Scene 3 Posthumus, still dressed as a Briton soldier, discusses the battle with a Briton lord. Posthumus tells him an old man an... Read More
Act 5, Scene 4 In a British prison, Posthumus, captured as a Roman officer, prays to the "good gods" for death. In his sleep he has a v... Read More
Act 5, Scene 5 Cymbeline, in his tent on the battlefield, knights Belarius, Guiderius, and Arviragus for their heroism in saving him an... Read More
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