Study Guide

Cymbeline, King of Britain Act 1, Scene 2

By William Shakespeare

Act 1, Scene 2

Read the full text of Cymbeline Act 1 Scene 2 with a side-by-side translation HERE.


  • The Queen, Imogen, and Posthumus show up, and things are tense. Posthumus knows his new dad-in-law has just banished him.
  • The Queen promises Imogen and Posthumus that she'll talk to Cymbeline for them. She's not an evil stepmother, after all, right? She also lets the lovers have a little privacy so that they can say goodbye.
  • Once the Queen is gone, Imogen calls her a faker. She's just pretending to be nice, Imogen says. There's lots of tears and sadness. Imogen and Posthumus don't want to leave each other, but they promise they'll write.
  • The Queen reappears and tells the lovers to break it up: the King is coming. Then, in an aside, she tells the audience that she's really just pretending to be friends with her stepdaughter. Behind her back, she's fooling Cymbeline into taking her side over his daughter's.
  • Posthumus and Imogen say one last goodbye, but not before giving each other some trinkets. He gets a ring, and she gets a bracelet to remind them of their love for one another even when they are apart. Aww. They promise to be faithful and never, ever, take their gifts off. Ever.
  • Cymbeline enters and is pretty ticked off at his daughter. How could she do this to him? How dare she? There are lots of angry words between them, but Imogen defends herself against her dad's fuming words.
  • Even though the Queen begs her hubby to reconsider, Cymbeline locks Imogen up and throws away the key.
  • Just then, Pisanio, Posthumus's servant enters with news of his master. As Posthumus was leaving, Cloten saw him and threw a couple punches. Luckily, the men walked the other way before anyone was seriously hurt.
  • Imogen wishes the men had fought till the death so that the whole thing could be over.
  • Pisanio offers his services to Imogen since Posthumus is now exiled. She accepts his offer, as long as he can go see her hubby abroad.

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