Study Guide

Cymbeline, King of Britain Tough-o-Meter

By William Shakespeare

Tough-o-Meter

(8) Snow Line

In the play, a lot of characters speak in a flowery, formal language that suits their noble status. These speech habits are notorious for making Cymbeline one of Shakespeare's more challenging plays to read—at first.

As in all of Shakespeare's work, some of the language here takes some getting used to. But once we get the hang of people running around saying things in 17th-century verse, it starts to get a little easier.

The play does have some twists and turns that can be a tad confusing. The deaths, potions, and schemes make for one wild ride, for sure, but if you can follow the drama that goes down in your favorite soap opera (or fairy tale), then you should have no problem with the play's plotline. We pretty quickly discover that Cymbeline is basically a fairy tale, complete with a sleeping princess and evil stepmother.

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