Cymbeline - Stephen Orgel, Peter Holland, William Shakespeare King Cymbeline is a supporting actor in his self-titled play. Around him whirl the plots of his queen, the petty violence of his step-son, the return journey of two prodigal sons, the romance of a princess with her low-born love, machinations of a mischievous lothario and a war thrown in for the heck of it.

Yeah, it’s a lot.

And it doesn’t really come together all that well. It’s pretty choppy and nonsensical at times. In an effort to include everything, nothing is really developed. However, like all of Shakespeare, it has it’s moments. Most notably, the dramatic efforts Iachimo takes to win his wager against Posthumus and the equally dramatic reveal at the end. The jailer in Act 5, Scene 4 also has some of the best lines in the play confined to his small part.

Many praise Imogen as one of Shakespeare’s greatest female characters. She is loyal without question and apparently devoted enough to run to her man even after he tries to have her assassinated. Not the most praiseworthy female role in Shakespeare in my opinion.

Finally, some of the best lines to take from Cymbeline, and the lines numerous subsequent artists have taken, come from the funeral in Act IV, Scene 2.
Fear no more the heat o’ th’ sun
Nor the furious winter’s rages;
Thou the worldly task hast done,
Home art gone and at’en thy wages.
Golden lads and girls all must
As chimney sweepers, come to dust. lns. 258-263