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Group Readings > Cymbaline, Act 2 May 1

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message 1: by Candy (new)

Candy | 2752 comments Mod
Discussions for Act 2 happen here beginning May 1. Happy May Day!!!


message 2: by JamesD (last edited May 09, 2018 01:56AM) (new)

JamesD | 549 comments Scene one, straight in with Clotenus being rather dense and out of touch and the nameless lord making sure that we know that everyone knows that Clot is a dud and doesn't deserve his position really. (Does Shakespeare believe in meritocracy? I think so.)
Anyway it is a witty character destruction of Clotenus by the anonymous lord.
I'm curious in general about Shakespeare and his not always naming people; for example 'The Queen' is only the queen while Cymbaline is is king and Cymbeline. An the clever lord who runs rings around Clotenus is only ' a lord'. Why can't they have names? Why isn't Imogene called Princess?
And here we have Clotenus who is on paper though not biologically Imogene's brother, seeking her hand in marriage. I think this apparent though not actual incestuousness is one of the aristos' predilections that annoys ordinary folk and why Shakespeare brings it out in the play. And the fact that he would still go after her even though she is married! Outrageous.


message 3: by JamesD (last edited May 09, 2018 02:23AM) (new)

JamesD | 549 comments So anyway I'm at the part where Iachimo has climbed out of the trunk in Imogene's room where she is sleeping deeply. He notes a book she has been reading before sleep. but does not exclaim or take note. It should be a warning.
' The tale of Tereus; here the leaf's turned down where Philomel gave up' he remembers to himself as he looks around the room.
I looked that tale of thracian Tereus up. A shocking and gruesome story of a woman scorned who gave the worst revenge - she killed her own son and cooked him and gave him as a feast to her husband who had raped and abducted her sister.


message 4: by Lucinda (last edited May 10, 2018 02:50AM) (new)

Lucinda Elliot (lucindaelliot) | 583 comments James, just tottered over to Act II. My recollection is, that King's daughers' weren't routinely called 'princess' in the UK until those Georges imposed it circa the eighteenth century. I thihk they were just know as 'The Lady' so and so. Now I remmber that King Edward I was always just known as 'The Lord Edward' until he became king.
I'd forgotten that tale about Tereus and Philomel. Grim stuff, my goodness.
Tarquin was the fellow who raped Lucrece, wasn't he? So there's lots of refernces to rapists in this, but Iachmo doesn't try that, even though he gloats over Imogen's bare breasts, whether from fear of punishment, who knows?
There is something absurd about him crawling out of a trunk, almost like an insect.


message 5: by JamesD (new)

JamesD | 549 comments Cymbeline the play is more of a family show by the look of it so I don't think there will be any rapes or intended rapes. Iachimo had a go at seducing Imogene and failed spectacularly though he managed to mend fences enough with blatant flattery to be able to use his 'boyo in a trunk' back up plan. He'd had a long time to think on his journey from Rome and I wonder how crazy the back up plan to the back up plan was?
I think the Tereus story flag up is suggesting that Imogene is not a woman to be messed with.
Yes Lucinda, insect, creepy crawly, Iachimo coming out of his trunk ever so unbelievably quietly; yuk. Must be a lot of money riding on that wager.
About names, re Imogene and The Queen. My curiosity was about Shakespeare's naming and not naming or simply function naming e.g' The Queen, and yet one of Imogene's maidservants is called Helen.
I got onto this line of thought while reading Macbeth. Why was his wife called Lady Macbeth - of course it's her title but not what her husband would call her. I like to think of her as Jane.


message 6: by Jim (last edited May 10, 2018 05:05PM) (new)

Jim | 42 comments Lucinda wrote: "So there's lots of refernces to rapists in this, but Iachmo doesn't try that, even though he gloats over Imogen's bare breasts, whether from fear of punishment, who knows..."

As odd as it is, as a dramatic device, Iachimo's lurking around Imogen's bedroom while she sleeps certainly seems to heighten the tension. I found myself imagining groundlings and others at early performances riveted and wondering what on earth was going to happen next ----wondering if it will indeed be the family show James mentions above!


message 7: by JamesD (new)

JamesD | 549 comments I agree Jim. At any second Imogene could awake to peering Iachimo.
'On her left breast a mole cinque-spotted' murmers Iachimo to himself. Breast bared or half bared perhaps? In Shakespeare's time Imogene would have been played by a young man and so I wonder how the bare breast would have been made.
Sexual innuendo follows in scene 3 with a nameless witty lord and hapless greedy Cloten talking about how to get through to Imogene.
And so a musical interlude is construed and Cloten charges the musicians he's hired to entertain Imogene: ' Come on; tune: if you can penetrate her with your fingering, so; we'll try with tongue too......' I imagine this raised a roar at the Globe and woke a few people up. But it's all words and no action at this point.


message 8: by JamesD (new)

JamesD | 549 comments Meanwhile back in Rome - Scene 4 (several months hence?) Iachimo has returned to show Postumous the 'manacle of love' that he has removed from Imogene's arm while she slept.
Posty falls for it right away and is off to Britain with Philario and Iachimo close behind to 'follow him and prevent the present wrath he hath against himself' says Philario.
From the not so sublime to the ridiculous eh.
Prior to travel though Scene 5 in a roman room (Philario's house) good ole Postumous has a rant about women in soliloquy to the walls.
I wonder if some of the issues raised in this rant will be addressed later in the play? Anyway, I'm ready to start on Act 3.


message 9: by JamesD (new)

JamesD | 549 comments Candy wrote: "Discussions for Act 2 happen here beginning May 1. Happy May Day!!!"

Hi Candy. I can't find the link for discussing Act 3 which was scheduled to start on May 8th. Do you have to set that up or am i missing where it is?


message 10: by Lucinda (last edited May 11, 2018 01:45PM) (new)

Lucinda Elliot (lucindaelliot) | 583 comments James and Jim, Shakespeare certainly knew how to stir and shake those groundlings with laughter. It's intriguing about meritocratic ideas - after all, in a way, the King's speech in 'All's Well That Ends Well' is a very strong argument in favour of such ideas, and very clever of Shakespeare to put these notions into the mouth of a king, but that's off topic...
Imogen has been coldly refusing Cloten for some time, presumably. So why is he so particularly outraged about the 'meanest garment' speech? That is the one he can't get over, which makes him decide he must be revenged at all costs. I suppose that is necessary for the plot. Maybe the phrase had a stronger implied meaning for a Jacobean audience.

I am interested in whether Posthumous' wild mysogynistic outburst is meant to be funny.
It is so over the top - he even doubts his own mother just because he thinks Imogen has been unfaithful, that surely it is meant to be?
Postumous sulks: -
'Me of my lawful pleasure she restrain'd,
And pray'd me oft forebearance: did it with
A prudency to rosy, the sweet view on't
Might well have warmed old Saturn...'
He seems to have been further led on by her reluctance, and I'm sure I've come across critics saying that this does seem to occur a lot in Shakespeare, and maybe in his time, it was regarded as extra alluring for a women to be seemingly cold.
But there seems an element of doubt about his appeal for her, too.
The last bit actually made me laugh out loud: -
'Perchance he spoke not, but
Like a full acorned boar
Cried ""O!" and mounted...'
Boars not talking, I suppoe that noise is rendered as a lasivious grunt?
He is nearly insane with jealous rage at this point. The odd thing is, that I must have seen this scene a few years ago, in the BBC version Martin was kind enough to lend to me. Yet it seemingly it has left no impression on me.


message 11: by Jim (new)

Jim | 42 comments Lucinda,

I wonder if Cloten's rage about his clothes and Posthumous' rant about women are to highlight that they're petty fools? And proud, selfish ones at that?

Or perhaps Posthumous' behaviour's a comment on how people can be driven bonkers by "desire"?

As to the extra allure of reluctant women, maybe Posthumous is (self-servingly?) interpreting Imogen's behaviour as "playing hard to get" -- something not only tied to Shakespeare's time.


message 12: by JamesD (last edited May 12, 2018 05:00PM) (new)

JamesD | 549 comments Lucinda wrote: "James and Jim, Shakespeare certainly knew how to stir and shake those groundlings with laughter. It's intriguing about meritocratic ideas - after all, in a way, the King's speech in 'All's Well Tha..."
Gotta point out yr misquote there Lucinda because I also misread the same lines and thought 'pudency' was a spelling mistake of prudency which I now realize isn't even a word! Pudency is.
You wrote 'a prudency to rosy' when actually it is a 'pudency so rosy' (yes that is root word pudenda) and followed by 'the sweet view on't might well have warmed old Saturn'. This makes more sense and has more humour for the audience.
I think scene 5 is meant to be satirically funny and shows Postumous be rather befuddled and like many men, especially married men.
I mean the wager (what all this stems from) is so offensive and poorly judged that it is grounds for divorce. Like Othello with Iago, Postumous has let his emotions take over due to Iachimo's clever insinuations. But it's both Othello and Postumous's lack of character that are really at fault I think; and that is what Shaekspeare means us to think, I think. Yes I agree with Jim's 'petty fools' verdict.
As for Cloten he appears a right hypocrite as he states that he wants to marry Imogene for the money that would come his way while at the same time declaring her improper for shunning him. Imogene seems to have been polite enough at the start, but she is a married woman and Cloten is has been disrespectful and she has lost patience not only with his insistence but with his stupidity. He doesn't know how to be respectful towards anyone (as one of the nameless lords pointed out earlier in act one) it seems. I see Cloten as stereotype of the out of touch and out of date aristocrat of Shakespeare's time; an anachronism even.
And by the way Lucinda I think that you are on topic when you are talking about the concept of meritocracy, for is not Shakepeare saying that the King, Queen, her son and Postumous too are not fit for purpose? More people not necessarily from the upper classes might better perform their functions.


message 13: by JamesD (new)

JamesD | 549 comments Now about the 'meanest garment'. So when I was looking for Act 3 discussion point I accidently went into a previous discussion of this play from a few years back and low and behold this meanest garment 'thread' is a key factor in the plays unfolding.
So yes, could it be a sock or his hose? And whatever it is why is Cloten so aghast that Imogene should say such a thing. Note that earlier she had a cloth moment that Candy mentioned where I someone was describing to Imogene how Postumous waved and waved and kissed his handkerchief to Imogene as he was sailing away to banishment in Rome. And Imogene was very taken with this and wished to be that piece of cloth that had touched Postumous's lips.
Cloten may or may not be looking for a way to make Imogene look bad or undermine her in some way that will work out in his favor, though he may simply be reacting over-emotionally to an intended insult. It's still a mystery to me though why the words 'meanest garment' should have such a strong effect on Cloten.
About Act 3 - shall we start discussing it here, or wait till the Act 3 discussion zone is set up?


message 14: by Candy (new)

Candy | 2752 comments Mod
Is this the topic thread you are looking for James?


message 15: by JamesD (new)

JamesD | 549 comments I'm using a laptop Candy. I can get on to Act 2 if I go through an old email from that conversation. What are immediately visible for the discussion links are Acts 3 and 4. Links for 1 and 2 have disappeared from the list tho I found them accidentaly. I've not exeperienced these problems before in the discussions. Anyway I will continue discussing forwith.


message 16: by Candy (new)

Candy | 2752 comments Mod
I think it’s because the threads don’t show when there is no new posts.

You may have the links on your laptop set only to recognize when new comments are added...or “unread topics”

Refresh your browser.Perhaps “clear history” and log in anew?

I don’t know it’s something to do with your laptop settings and the cookies I think.


message 17: by Candy (new)

Candy | 2752 comments Mod
One thing that hit me about this Act...was there is a segment when I is sneaking in and observing I sleeping...it's such a breach of boundaries, creeper, stalker etc. He is a bad person in the most simplest obvious way....ethically challengenged lol

Yet...his poetry is sublime and lovely.

I could't help thinking...about how we struggle with mixing or separating the artist from the art. Here is Shakespeare giving us fine poetry from a reprehensible personality.

IACHIMO
The crickets sing, and man's o'er-labour'd sense
Repairs itself by rest. Our Tarquin thus
Did softly press the rushes, ere he waken'd
The chastity he wounded. Cytherea,
How bravely thou becomest thy bed, fresh lily,
And whiter than the sheets! That I might touch!
But kiss; one kiss! Rubies unparagon'd,
How dearly they do't! 'Tis her breathing that
Perfumes the chamber thus: the flame o' the taper
Bows toward her, and would under-peep her lids,
To see the enclosed lights, now canopied
Under these windows, white and azure laced
With blue of heaven's own tinct. But my design,
To note the chamber: I will write all down:
Such and such pictures; there the window; such
The adornment of her bed; the arras; figures,
Why, such and such; and the contents o' the story.
Ah, but some natural notes about her body,
Above ten thousand meaner moveables
Would testify, to enrich mine inventory.
O sleep, thou ape of death, lie dull upon her!
And be her sense but as a monument,
Thus in a chapel lying! Come off, come off:
Taking off her bracelet

As slippery as the Gordian knot was hard!
'Tis mine; and this will witness outwardly,
As strongly as the conscience does within,
To the madding of her lord. On her left breast
A mole cinque-spotted, like the crimson drops
I' the bottom of a cowslip: here's a voucher,
Stronger than ever law could make: this secret
Will force him think I have pick'd the lock and ta'en
The treasure of her honour. No more. To what end?
Why should I write this down, that's riveted,
Screw'd to my memory? She hath been reading late
The tale of Tereus; here the leaf's turn'd down
Where Philomel gave up. I have enough:
To the trunk again, and shut the spring of it.
Swift, swift, you dragons of the night, that dawning
May bare the raven's eye! I lodge in fear;
Though this a heavenly angel, hell is here.
Clock strikes

One, two, three: time, time!


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