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Group Readings > Cymbeline Act 4, May 15

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message 1: by Candy (new)

Candy | 2752 comments Mod
Continuing the discussion of Cymbeline... Act 4 here!

:)


message 2: by JamesD (new)

JamesD | 549 comments Hi. The Act 2 link has disappeared from the discussion page - only act 1 and 4 showing, and the Act 3 link seems not to have ever been there. Glitches in the system?


message 3: by Candy (new)

Candy | 2752 comments Mod
I'm not sure because I can see them...let me look...


message 4: by Candy (new)

Candy | 2752 comments Mod
I have laughed out loud a few times in this Act. There is something that is just so funny here.

I know that this is a play that isn't exactly a comedy but here is an example of how funny I find Belarius..

BELARIUS
[Aside] O noble strain!
30
O worthiness of nature! breed of greatness!
Cowards father cowards and base things sire base:
Nature hath meal and bran, contempt and grace.
I'm not their father; yet who this should be,
Doth miracle itself, loved before me.
35
'Tis the ninth hour o' the morn.


message 5: by Candy (new)

Candy | 2752 comments Mod
What kind of chef is this person...alphabet soup?

"GUIDERIUS
65
But his neat cookery! he cut our roots
In characters,
And sauced our broths, as Juno had been sick
And he her dieter"


message 6: by Candy (new)

Candy | 2752 comments Mod
Anagnorisis (/ˌænəɡˈnɒrɪsɪs/; Ancient Greek: ἀναγνώρισις) is a moment in a play or other work when a character makes a critical discovery. Anagnorisis originally meant recognition in its Greek context, not only of a person but also of what that person stood for. Anagnorisis was the hero's sudden awareness of a real situation, the realisation of things as they stood, and finally, the hero's insight into a relationship with an often antagonistic character in Aristotelian tragedy.

What is with the disguise in Shakespeare? HOW DO WE KNOW SOMETHING...HOW DO WE LEARN SOMETHING?

I THINK A LOT OF OUR COMPREHENSION CHALLENGES ARE BECAUSE WE HAVE AcTUALLY ATTRIBUTION PROBLEMS. WE THINK WE ALREADY KNOW THINGS. WE THINK WE KNOW CHARACTERS INA PLAY, WE THINK WE KNOW OUR BOSS, WE THINK WE KNOW THE WORLD.

Why are the disguises and hidden identities so fascinating in Shakespeare?

How many fake deaths are there in this play and how many fake or wrongly attributed personas are there?

What does the use of fake death, disguise, mistaken identity tell us about literature or art...or humans. It seems like there should be some kind of logic to all of this...?


message 7: by Candy (new)

Candy | 2752 comments Mod
I did not intend on using all caps...and I am too lazy to correct it at this moment...sorry for "yelling" lol


message 8: by JamesD (new)

JamesD | 549 comments Candy wrote: "Anagnorisis (/ˌænəɡˈnɒrɪsɪs/; Ancient Greek: ἀναγνώρισις) is a moment in a play or other work when a character makes a critical discovery. Anagnorisis originally meant recognition in its Greek cont..."
Re disquise in Shakespeare I'm always aware that that in the original productions, that Shakespeare wrote them knowing full well, all the female characters would played by disquised males.
In the invaded bedroom scene where Iachimo views Imogene's telling mole I wonder if in this case a stand in/lie in female was used or did they create a clever prosthetic breast?


message 9: by Lucinda (last edited May 23, 2018 02:26PM) (new)

Lucinda Elliot (lucindaelliot) | 583 comments Intriguing speculations, Candy!
Ha, Ha, about 'shouting' in capitals. 'Splitting the ears of the groundlings', eh?
My recollection is, that Elizabethan's/Jacobin's weren't too worried about breasts being seen; in fact, I've read somewhere that Elizabeth the Virgin Queen revealed most of hers, so showing them wasn't seen as improper. I have often thought that various ages fetishise certain features, and believe in this era, legs were the thing that mustn't be shown, hence the dismay that Shakespeare's heroines show when dressing as men. So maybe they truly revealed a breast to the audience, either as you say, as one belonging to a stand-in woman or an artificial one. But as the lighting was surely bad (if indoors) I don't suppose that much of the audience had a good view!
Poor Imogen, having wandered about for two nights, and starved, has an appetite despite her grief over Posthumous' treatment of her. She cannot resist the cold meat...
The admiration between Imogen and her brothers is mutual: she wishes that they had been her brothers: -
'If brothers (aside) would it had been so, that they
Had been my father's sons, then had my prize been less
And so more equal ballasting
To thee, Posthumous.'
I suppose she is thinking too, that if they had never been parted due to her marriage to Posthumous being thought unworthy, then he would never have suspected her of unfaithfulness.
It is interesting that Shakespeare makes A say:
'Were you a woman, youth
I should woo hard, but be your groom in honesty.
I bid for you as I do buy.'
It is lucky all round that she is disguised as a boy!


message 10: by Candy (new)

Candy | 2752 comments Mod
I don't give the idea that men were playing all the parts much value. I think because the society was sexist doesn't give it much value....I believe the characters were conceived and portrayed as female...no matter who played them.


I think too often readers get "stuck" on thinking the actors were all male back in the day.


message 11: by Lucinda (last edited May 25, 2018 01:03AM) (new)

Lucinda Elliot (lucindaelliot) | 583 comments True, Candy. You know, the weird thing is, though, that my silly head can't quite accept that they were all male, though I know intellectually that they were - I never see them as originally boys, but girls dressed up as boys.


message 12: by JamesD (last edited May 25, 2018 02:56AM) (new)

JamesD | 549 comments Candy wrote: "I don't give the idea that men were playing all the parts much value. I think because the society was sexist doesn't give it much value....I believe the characters were conceived and portrayed as f..."
Yes I'm one of those readers stuck thinking on the idea of all male actors in Shakespeare's time; particularly when I'm reading a play and not so much when seeing or discussing a modern production.
I think that Shakespeare had to think very carefully about each female role; as to to who would play it and the how of technical aspects such as the showing of Imogene's breast for example.
I enjoy speculating about this.
Imogene in disguise in act 3 is, for the audience at the time, a boy dressing up as a girl dressing up as a boy. For the audience there must have been some humor in this, that Shakespeare would have been happy to engage.
I can imagine a few sniggers in the audience when Imogene says to Pisanio when discussing her male disguise in Act 3 Scene 4 :
"Nay, be brief; I see into thy end, and am almost a man already."
As for sexism; it had it's own character then as does the sexism of our times.


message 13: by Lucinda (last edited May 26, 2018 11:21AM) (new)

Lucinda Elliot (lucindaelliot) | 583 comments True, James. What intrigues me, is that in this age, is the contradiction between 'nonour' being equated with chastity in this age for women, and yet, everyone was crudely outspoken, ie, Elizabeth making a coarse quip to the courtier who had accidentally broken wind when bowing to her years before - and nobody thought of hiding natural functions.
The later notions of privacy that led to Victorian notions of decency were impossible, due to lack of private space, even in the great houses. I read somewhere how the master and mistress of a substantial household often slept in a four-poster, with the servants on top.
And then, the Victorians, whose sexism was very much bound up with these later notions of privacy and propriety, led them to be so appalled by many of Shakespeare's pieces of bawdy writing that they abridged a lot. I had an old version of 'Romeo and Juliet' where one of Mercutio's speeches is abridged so it doesn't even scan. That wasn't explained, and I was puzzled when I cam on it as a youngster, thinking that Shakespeare couldn't have written verses where the rhyme broke off abruptly. That was in the 'I conjure you by Rosaline's bright eyes' verse .
I believe Elizabethan/Jacobean stage productions tended to put characters from any age in the costume of their own age; I don't know if this was lack of props, or them seeing these earlier ages through the lens of their own time.
So, Imogen's mole can hardly have been on the top part of the breast, as so much of them would have been visible dressed, in those low cut gowns, and even undressed, she would have had maids who could be bribed to talk of it as a feature.
That doesn't seem to have occured to Posthumous, unless I've overlooked a bit and he says her maids could not be bribed to speak of it; I'll have to re-read that bit.


message 14: by Candy (new)

Candy | 2752 comments Mod
Weeelll... there is also a tie in i feel with rebirth...disguise, gender roles....and rebirth. james noted that in shakespeare's day...the roles of women were played by men.....


i'd like to take that more seriously....contradicting my earlier post about we don't have to ficus on that....


because i'm actually of the belief....that it is a valuable dialogue....


does anyone here watch RuPauls drag race...or familiar with some aspects of drag?

RuPauls Drag Race is a competitive game show...featuring drag queens competing every week by making their wardrobe and make up with a variety of tasks or themes.

RuPaul sometimes says "the miracle of drag".

And that is always so wonderful to me....because drag does contain miracles or magic. Sometimes the competitors have to "make over" guys who do not do drag. They might be straight or gay.

The process often "awakens" a side of the men that was lying dormant...a creative side, a funny side and what might be stereotyped as a "feminine or female side" to the real people. The idea that compassion and emotions might be activated...in a positive manner to understanding themselves in a more emotional or compassionate manner...with themselves and their personalities.

It doesn't make the straight guys "gay" or "effeminate" or change them into drag queens....but it does give them a vehicle for learning about the human condition.

I think a lot of that is going on with Shakespeare...and the disguises....the men dressing as women who dress as men...etc. There is a rebirth of the characters and the ethics and community...as well as the sense of personal growth and rebirth.

The "cardboard" portrayals that Shakespeare may have tried to riff with of fairy tale archetypes....but with humanity bursting out of them and developing them ....is fascinating.

We must MUST remember...that just the act of a person taking on a memorized character...and memorized gestures throughout a performance...is transmitting knowledge within that performer...as well as the writer....who transformers herself to write a play.....and to the audience.

The act of knowing the whole thing is fake and then becoming involved in the story and lives of these fake people...is similar to a drag queen pretending to dress like a female...(or a drag king dressing like a male) and a transformative potential is there in every setting we create this illusion. The potential is always there for playgoers, writers, wardrobe, actors etc....and readers...


message 15: by Candy (new)

Candy | 2752 comments Mod
So in short...James I'm totally making a 360 on this and I am grateful for your comments because it really inspired me to think longer on this and analyze it a bit more.


message 16: by Candy (new)

Candy | 2752 comments Mod
Lucinda...could you describe that four poster situation a bit more...or link a diagram?

I have this weird image of a husband and wife in their four poster canopy bed with servants sleeping on a top bunk?


message 17: by Candy (new)

Candy | 2752 comments Mod
And to carry this further...Milford Haven helps us have a "hero's journey".

A hero's journey has about 12 components defined by Joseph Campbell....but three components can give us a nutshell...a soundbite definition for brevity.

Departure
Initiation
Return


"return" is a form of rebirth.


message 18: by Lucinda (new)

Lucinda Elliot (lucindaelliot) | 583 comments Candy, I wish I could find the book where I read it being described, with servants sleeping on the wooden canopy on top of the four poster bed (sounds hazardous). Usually, they are described as sleeping in the hall in great households, or in the kitchen in unpretentious ones. I have looked online, and can find no other references to it. It does sound so bizarre to modern ideas, that it stuck in my imagination.


message 19: by Jim (new)

Jim | 42 comments Candy wrote: "The idea that compassion and emotions might be activated...in a positive manner to understanding themselves in a more emotional or compassionate manner...with themselves and their personalities. ..."

Interesting idea! The roots of all actors being male may be necessity, but it does shine an interesting light on gender roles. It can be played for laughs, but also more seriously point to the sometimes absurd rules by which a gender is expected to behave. If nothing else, it can help us see those norms more clearly.

Some recent productions seem to touch on a similar issue by having female leads in roles such as Prospero, Richard III....

Julius Caesar at Stratford

Are there instances of men disguised as women in Shakespeare's plays? The examples I can think of are all women dressed as men.


message 20: by Lucinda (last edited May 27, 2018 07:25AM) (new)

Lucinda Elliot (lucindaelliot) | 583 comments I can't think of any men dressed as women, Candy. I have a vague buzzing in my mind that there might be one in 'The Merry Wives of Windsor', but I could be wrong there. Intriguing that you have been won over by everyone to the significance of the boy as girl thing.
There are just so many puns about the boy as girl as boy in Shakespeare's plays, that he must have been winking at the audience all along . I suppose it is commenting on the obvious that he is showing a different sort of love, too, where the hero comes to respect the heroine for qualities he can't see in her as a woman.
In all cases, as critics say, that convention of disguises being infallible is so useful...
On Shakespeare and 'cardboard characters' - the whole concept of making a series of stereotypes into more realised characters - while still keeping some of their 'fairytale' characteristics, is fascinating.


message 21: by Tim (last edited May 27, 2018 05:39AM) (new)

Tim Horwood | 17 comments Men dressed as women.
The Most Lamentable Comedy and Most Cruel Death of Pyramus and Thisbe in a Midsummer Night's Dream.

Francis Flute, Thisbe
Robin Starveling, Thisbe’s mother.

They are not disguises though just play acting.


message 22: by Candy (new)

Candy | 2752 comments Mod
I'm laughing so hard....I believe what Lucinda and Jim meant to say is...

"I can't think of any male characters in disguise as women."

I'm trying to say something more...literary and something about the nature of dressing as something else but particularly men in drag.

"In Shakespeare's day, female parts were played by male actors, while more recently, actresses have taken on some of his most famous male roles such as Hamlet and Julius Caesar. Clare McManus explores gender in the history of Shakespeare performance."

https://www.bl.uk/shakespeare/article...


So...what I'm saying is...that the actual humans...being men...were acting as women, therefore in drag, or in the wardrobe of females.

I'm saying the actual actors...would, as actors often experience, transform into another person....that person being a woman. Wearing womens clothing, behaving in generally considered female gestures....produces "the miracle of drag" (as RuPaul calls it.

That miracle of drag...is that men dressing as women and behaving...and really transforming physically....produces an experience for many males.

As an audience watching such transformations we are also able to suspend disbelief....and travel inwardly to our own ideas of what gender is...or isn't.

Am I making sense?

Dressing as a woman creates a sensation for those males whether they are actors or not, to experience and be creative in ways they were not able to be as men.

In the same way...that when females have dressed as men in order to get jobs or be accepted in male dominated communities (hello....YENTYL...LOL) offers the woman a chance to feel what it's like to be male in a society....

I hope I'm making sense.

I'm trying to say that the fact of men being in drag during Shakespeare's era is part of the transformative potential. Men could access creativity within themselves...as well as their own potential.

Shakespeare could write some of the greatest female roles because he could get inside his own female. As could the actors.

I guess I'm talking about a "meta" experience during Shakespeare's era.


message 23: by Lucinda (new)

Lucinda Elliot (lucindaelliot) | 583 comments Candy, Ha, Ha., I see what you mean.
There are massive implications in it all.
I am not sure when the UK pantomime tradition was started, when the principal dame is always a man, and the chief comic, but that must have been well after women were allowed onto the stage in Restoration times.
Tim, of course, that bit of 'Midsummer Night's Dream'!


message 24: by JamesD (new)

JamesD | 549 comments Tim wrote: "Men dressed as women.
The Most Lamentable Comedy and Most Cruel Death of Pyramus and Thisbe in a Midsummer Night's Dream.

Francis Flute, Thisbe
Robin Starveling, Thisbe’s mother.

They are not di..."
Tim, you've just reminded me that that scene in Midsummer's is my favorite of the play and one of my favorites in all of Shakespeare!


message 25: by Tim (new)

Tim Horwood | 17 comments JamesD wrote: "Tim wrote: "Men dressed as women.
The Most Lamentable Comedy and Most Cruel Death of Pyramus and Thisbe in a Midsummer Night's Dream.

Tim, you've just reminded me that that scene in Midsummer's is my favorite of the play and one of my favorites in all of Shakespeare! ."


There's no equivalent in Cymbeline. I haven't spotted any comedy , word play or wit.


message 26: by Candy (new)

Candy | 2752 comments Mod
Yes, I agree Tim, it's not banter and it's certainly not obvious comedy.

I do find Belarious funny but it's probably more something that I find funny about him and people like him...than as written more directly.


message 27: by Lucinda (new)

Lucinda Elliot (lucindaelliot) | 583 comments TIm; I think myself the humour is there, but it is very dark. So dark that it veers towards tragedy.
I find Belarius funny, as well, Candy. I assume Cloten is meant to be so foul he is funny, and I assume also, that outburst of Posthumous' in Act II about women is meant to be so over-the-top it is ludicrous. That 'Cried O and mounted' image is ridiculous. Earlier, there was all the jibes of the Second Lord about Cloten.
I wonder if the scene where A kills C, and B (sorry, couldn't resist that!) says: 'W e are all undone' - one can imagine him wringing his hands - is the darkest comedy that Shakespeare has written?
G says briskly: 'I have sent Cloten's clodpoll down the stream..'
Then there is a sad bit, as Imogen is found seemingly dead, and A sets off that strange automatic instrument to play funereal music.
It says in the forward of my edition that Henry VIII had one 'that goeth with a wheel' - a bit like a music box, I suppose - so I suppose they did exist, but however did B come by it, having had to fly court?
G says:
'All solemn things
Should answer solemn accidents. The matter?
Triumphs for nothing, and lamenting toys
Is jolity for apes, and grief for boys.
Is Cadwal mad?'
Then A comes in with Imogen in his arms, seemingly dead.
Obviously, they don't go in for burial, but leave the 'bodies' of Imogen and the headless Cloten out exposed to the elements, and scavengers, I suppose.
Then Imogen wakes, and mistakes the body for that of Posthumous (which would seem to indicate that Cloten had a good physique, at least) and mourns over this. I think this is meant to be grotesquely funny, too: -
'I know the shape o's leg: this is his hand:
His foot Mercurial: his martial thigh:
The brawns of Hercules...'


message 28: by Tim (last edited May 30, 2018 12:55AM) (new)

Tim Horwood | 17 comments I looked around the web for humour in Cymbeline.

Cymbeline: a comedy with menace
https://www.oxfordstudent.com/2016/04...

With Imogen mistaking Cloten for Posthumous it is quite possible for the same actor to play both Cloten and Posthumous.

I feel that this play is really one that you have to see rather than just read.


message 29: by JamesD (last edited May 30, 2018 06:13AM) (new)

JamesD | 549 comments Lucinda wrote: "TIm; I think myself the humour is there, but it is very dark. So dark that it veers towards tragedy.
I find Belarius funny, as well, Candy. I assume Cloten is meant to be so foul he is funny, and I..."

Lucinda I think you missed a bit about what was being thought to do with the dead Cloten and apparently dead Imogene.
Belarius, Avirargus and Guiderius discuss burying both Imogene and Cloten in Act 4 Scene 2. Belarius says to Gudierius about Cloten:
"And though you took his life, as being our foe, yet bury him as a prince."
So i take it they were planning to bury both Cloten and Imogene.


message 30: by Lucinda (last edited May 30, 2018 12:48PM) (new)

Lucinda Elliot (lucindaelliot) | 583 comments It is confusing, as they do mention that they are going to 'bury' Cloten and presumably Imogen, and yet they don't,and you'd think they would be anxious to inter them quickly if that was their intention. I have heard that many historians argue that Ancient Britons used 'sky burial' ie, leaving bodies to be eaten by birds. More recently, I think that may have been questioned. I had assumed that Shakespeare was depicting this, but maybe not. But if not, it is odd that they leave Imogen and Cloten unburied after singing the dirge.


message 31: by Candy (new)

Candy | 2752 comments Mod
Great notes about humour you found in the play so far Lucinda. I agree with you.

I think it's a good point Tim makes by saying this is a play that needs to be seen (does anyone have the BBC version? I will try to find it)

I believe some actors could really make this like Samuel Beckett....which absurdism...is funny and tragic at the same time.

It's always much funnier when we know everyone is "okay" at the end....


message 32: by Candy (new)

Candy | 2752 comments Mod
James, the scene with the headless body which Imogen, waking from sleeping potion, thinks is her bf is sad. But isn't there something sort of capricious about how she is able to then...later, sad, pretend to be a boy?

There is something sort of pathos meets Charlie Chaplin about this play.....maybe just Buster Keaton....sad....because of the trickery and power games...yet it is still the driving plot and adventure of Imogen....it keeps the action pushing our emotions....in humorous and sad ways, no?


message 33: by JamesD (new)

JamesD | 549 comments Lucinda wrote: "It is confusing, as they do mention that they are going to 'bury' Cloten and presumably Imogen, and yet they don't,and you'd think they would be anxious to inter them quickly if that was their inte..."

I think the clue is when Belarius speaks:
"Here's a few flowers, but 'bout midnight, more the herbs that have on them cold dew o' the night
are strewings fitt'st for grave. Upon their faces - you were as flowers, now withered: even so these herblets shall, which we upon you strew.."
And then the three, Bel, Arv and Guid are away, presumably to collect the proper herbs and flowers for the later strewings.
Nevertheless Shakespeare, for his plot development, wanted Imogene to wake up (as Fidele) and find Cloten's headless corpse beside her and then mistake him for Postumous.


message 34: by JamesD (new)

JamesD | 549 comments Candy wrote: "James, the scene with the headless body which Imogen, waking from sleeping potion, thinks is her bf is sad. But isn't there something sort of capricious about how she is able to then...later, sad, ..."
Aye Candy. Oops. I've never said that before. Anyway. Yes. Imogene dressed as a boy initially finds herself with her brothers who she does not know are her brothers but who are attracted to her as a woman that they think is a young man and not their sister. Later, the brothers come in to find the 'lovely' Fidele as they know her/him, to be lying cuddled up to the corpse of a man.
You can imagine that Imogene on waking from her drug induced sleep is muddled and not thinking clearly and being on her own forgets about her Fidele persona.
Will all be revealed in the next act?


message 35: by Lucinda (last edited Jun 02, 2018 01:04PM) (new)

Lucinda Elliot (lucindaelliot) | 583 comments James, that makes sense, about the flower strewing.
We see Guiderius and Aviragus in their normal, brave and honourable light in the next scene where they won't heed Belarius' advice to take care of themselves, and he reveals his care was to save them, not himself@
'No reason I (since of your lives you set
So slight a valuation) should reserve
My crack'd one to more care. Have with you, boys!
If in your country war you chance to die,
That is my bed too...'
And I don't think it is writing a spoiler to say that in the next act, we see Posthumous in a far better light than when we last saw him...


message 36: by JamesD (new)

JamesD | 549 comments I found this quote about Cymbeline from 18th writer and critic Samuel Johnson:

"This play has many just sentiments, some natural dialogues, and some pleasing scenes, but they are obtained at the expense of much incongruity. To remark the folly of the fiction, the absurdity of the conduct, the confusion of the names and manners of different times, and the impossibility of the events in any system of life, were to waste criticism upon unresisting imbecility, upon faults too evident for detection, and too gross for aggravation."

We are not alone!


message 37: by Lucinda (new)

Lucinda Elliot (lucindaelliot) | 583 comments That's quoted in the preface in my Arden edition, Ha, Ha!
But I can't help thinking that Johnson missed the point; the behavior of the characters is meant to be unrealistic much of the time, because they are fairy tale characters, Faulty and Overbearing King, who is influenced by the Wicked Queen and Step Mother, Brave Knight, Virtuous Daughter of the King who is the Prize for said Brave Knight, etc etc. But they are something more: Shakespeare teases us by giving them individuality in places. I think he was experimenting with this concept, here and in 'All's Well That End's Well' and 'The Winter's Tale'.
I think the old time critic E M W Tillyard recognises this in his 'Shakespeare's Problem Plays'.


message 38: by Candy (new)

Candy | 2752 comments Mod
This morning I woke and thought “symbol-ine”

Wondering if it is a weird thought of feminine symbol.

I must have been dreaming about our group discussion and the last four recent comments?!


message 39: by Gabriel (new)

Gabriel | 180 comments Dr Johnson is typical of 18th century views on Shakespeare, which were fixated on reason as opposed to imagination, and seem to have screened out huge aspects of Shakespeare - yet still elevated him to top status on grounds of his portrayals of human nature. So they frequently revised Shakespeare to make him more 'sensible' and provide morally acceptable endings. I've just discovered that Bernard Shaw also wrote an alternative last act for Cymbeline, called 'Cymbeline Refinished'. He reckons that the last act was originally built around a masque and that without it 'the act is a tedious string of unsurpiring denouements sugared with insincere sentimentality after a ludicrous stage battle'. I haven't yet read his version. It was publisjhed in 1946 as part of his collected works.


message 40: by Lucinda (new)

Lucinda Elliot (lucindaelliot) | 583 comments These dreams are never to be discounted, Candy.
Maybe Cymbeline is strangely passive for a patriarchal king, which in that era, would be defined as being in some way feminine. He is almost like the Wicked Queen's ventriloquist's dummy - or am I being unfair to him?
Gabriel, you are so right. I never knew that about Bernard Shaw writing his own ending. I must admit, I have read about five plays of his, and can't enjoy them. I find there to be something stilted about them, and I find myself thinking he doesn't hold up against O'Casey, let alone Shakespeare.


message 41: by Candy (new)

Candy | 2752 comments Mod
I have found some really riveting moments in Act 4.

My internet was down and inconsistent so I am behind posting...sorry but able to catch up now...


All of Scene 2 in Act 4 had a lot of great writing I tohought and a lot of speed.

After Cloten is killed...I found the way the boys were speaking about army and sacrifice very moving. I actually felt sad Cloten was killed....or dead...and I am not sure why. The wording of some of the dialogue seemed to hit me very emotionally. I noticed there were several words with the "clot" or "closing" sound in them....this seemed yer haunting as if Cloten was a ghost inside the poems.

I also thought a lot of the dialogue here very good...

"Guiderius. Why, he but sleeps:
If he be gone, he'll make his grave a bed;
With female fairies will his tomb be haunted,
And worms will not come to thee. 2605
Arviragus. With fairest flowers
Whilst summer lasts and I live here, Fidele,
I'll sweeten thy sad grave: thou shalt not lack
The flower that's like thy face, pale primrose, nor
The azured harebell, like thy veins, no, nor 2610
The leaf of eglantine, whom not to slander,
Out-sweeten'd not thy breath: the ruddock would,
With charitable bill,—O bill, sore-shaming
Those rich-left heirs that let their fathers lie
Without a monument!—bring thee all this; 2615
Yea, and furr'd moss besides, when flowers are none,
To winter-ground thy corse.
Guiderius. Prithee, have done;
And do not play in wench-like words with that
Which is so serious. Let us bury him, 2620
And not protract with admiration what
Is now due debt. To the grave!
Arviragus. Say, where shall's lay him?
Guiderius. By good Euriphile, our mother.
Arviragus. Be't so: 2625
And let us, Polydore, though now our voices
Have got the mannish crack, sing him to the ground,
As once our mother; use like note and words,
Save that Euriphile must be Fidele.
Guiderius. Cadwal, 2630
I cannot sing: I'll weep, and word it with thee;
For notes of sorrow out of tune are worse
Than priests and fanes that lie.
Arviragus. We'll speak it, then.
Belarius. Great griefs, I see, medicine the less; for Cloten 2635
Is quite forgot. He was a queen's son, boys;
And though he came our enemy, remember
He was paid for that: though mean and
mighty, rotting
Together, have one dust, yet reverence, 2640
That angel of the world, doth make distinction
Of place 'tween high and low. Our foe was princely
And though you took his life, as being our foe,
Yet bury him as a prince.
Guiderius. Pray You, fetch him hither. 2645
Thersites' body is as good as Ajax',
When neither are alive."


Thersite was a poor warrior, described a homely or ugly in some of the Illiad. Where Ajax is vital, robust large. So it seemed to me that as as I read some of the grieving poetry I felt more for Cloten...and then the section ends explaining itself that Thersites and Ajax are similar once they are dead....they become more equal and sentimental in our minds.


message 42: by Candy (last edited Jun 20, 2018 10:13AM) (new)

Candy | 2752 comments Mod
In my version I am reading a whole compendium. You know one of those large values with everything in it of Shakespeare. I don't really like reading from it as it's so heavy...especially in the summer it's uncomfortable reading such a huge book....but I own it so that if I don't have a copy of one of his plays or poems....in an individual publication...I can find it to read quickly at home. So'Ive read a lot of Cymbaline from this compilation by AVENEL. It's got an interesting difference in it....there is a song in Act 4.

Has anyone else got the song? In my online version of Cymbaline...no song.

I think this is so wonderful and sad...

Fear no more the heat o’ the sun,
Nor the furious winter’s rages;
Thou thy worldly task hast done,
Home art gone, and ta’en thy wages:
Golden lads and girls all must,
As chimney-sweepers, come to dust.

Fear no more the frown o’ the great;
Thou art past the tyrant’s stroke;
Care no more to clothe and eat;
To thee the reed is as the oak:
The scepter, learning, physic, must
All follow this, and come to dust.

Fear no more the lightning flash,
Nor the all-dreaded thunder stone;
Fear not slander, censure rash;
Thou hast finished joy and moan:
All lovers young, all lovers must
Consign to thee, and come to dust.

No exorciser harm thee!
Nor no witchcraft charm thee!
Ghost unlaid forbear thee!
Nothing ill come near thee!
Quiet consummation have;
And renownèd be thy grave!

Here is a classical version on youtube...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h06ng...

and actually I prefer this version...I feel it might be closer to a folkier country version of the times of Shakespeare...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1XZCe...


message 43: by Candy (new)

Candy | 2752 comments Mod
I believe I shared the following link earlier but I am going to share it again.

I found this academic work online and have found it absolutely fascinating...about disguise and gender...and identity. Here are some of the topics in this academic paper...

"Third, I will discuss her brothers’ and her father’s partial recognition as well as her husband’ misrecognition. Finally, I will explain why Imogen’s disguise is proposed by Pisanio rather than constructed by the heroine herself. The third section is about the improvisational disguise of Belarius, Guiderius, and Arviragus. All three of them adopt a Welsh disguise and, for that reason, I will devote special attention to the Welsh characteristics adopted by the characters. I will also discuss Cymbeline’s recognition of his two long-lost sons. The final section will look at Posthumus’ task-oriented and improvisational disguise. I will show that his disguise takes the form of national cross-dressing, whereby Posthumus’ changes of clothes coincide with his changes in national allegiance. I will illustrate that Posthumus’ costume changes are a visual demonstration of his flexible (national) identity, which combines both British and Roman values."

https://lib.ugent.be/fulltxt/RUG01/00...

I think I will make a separate topic about this later for those of us who might want to read it and discuss more in depth?


message 44: by JamesD (new)

JamesD | 549 comments Candy wrote: "In my version I am reading a whole compendium. You know one of those large values with everything in it of Shakespeare. I don't really like reading from it as it's so heavy...especially in the summ..."

Hi Candy. The Complete Shakespeare that I read from is a late 19th century publication with photos of actors of the time in roles from the various plays. It is outrageous to me that an online version of Cymbeline would omit the song. Why???


message 45: by JamesD (last edited Jun 20, 2018 04:19PM) (new)

JamesD | 549 comments Candy wrote: "In my version I am reading a whole compendium. You know one of those large values with everything in it of Shakespeare. I don't really like reading from it as it's so heavy...especially in the summ..."

I think the 'song' would correctly be called a dirge, both in Shakespeare's time and now. Dirge - a lament to the dead.


message 46: by Candy (new)

Candy | 2752 comments Mod
I'm glad I had been reading my printed version James!

I did not find it in my two online versions.


message 47: by JamesD (new)

JamesD | 549 comments Candy wrote: "I'm glad I had been reading my printed version James!

I did not find it in my two online versions."


Makes you wonder who's editing and what's their agenda.


message 48: by JamesD (new)

JamesD | 549 comments Candy wrote: "I have found some really riveting moments in Act 4.

My internet was down and inconsistent so I am behind posting...sorry but able to catch up now...

This line from the section you have quoted Candy.
Belarius: 'Great griefs I see, medicine the less: for Cloten is quite forgot.'
I can't help but think that Shakespeare is willing us to hear forgotten (Cloten) rather than forgot. A bit of hidden humour perhaps?
I read that Geoffrey of Monmouth listed Cloten as a pre Roman invasion king of Cornwall; which most people will have forgot.
All of Scene 2 in Act 4 had a lot of great wr..."



message 49: by JamesD (new)

JamesD | 549 comments It's been six weeks now that I've been reading and thinking about Cymbeline and it only recently occurred to me a parallel in Shakespeare's personal life in this story. Shakespeare had one daughter and twin boys, one of whom died. In the play, sister Imogene, and her brothers Guiderius and Aviragus - and doesn't Guiderius die?


message 50: by Candy (new)

Candy | 2752 comments Mod
Maybe it was too random to include the song? And I wonder if there are early versions with and without the song?

That is a fascinating observation about the twins of S and daughter...mirroring Cymbalines children.

"quite forgot" was in the online version....I copy and pasted......so there are always short cuts or editing compromises in which ever version we read.

Sorry for using online for quotes.....but its so much easier than typing the pages from a printed version.


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