Study Guide

Cymbeline, King of Britain Act 1, Scene 5

By William Shakespeare

Act 1, Scene 5

Read the full text of Cymbeline Act 1 Scene 5 with a side-by-side translation HERE.


  • Enter Iachimo, an Italian talking with a Frenchman, a Dutchman, and a Spaniard about everything that's going on with the British royal family. Looks like the news has made it to Rome (where this scene is set).
  • Posthumus has also made it to Rome, where's he lying low in banishment.
  • Posthumus introduces himself to the lads, and the conversation quickly turns to—what else?—women.
  • Iachimo thinks any woman can be seduced. Just name the time and place, and he's there.
  • But Posthumus disagrees. Not his new bride: she's too virtuous and honest to ever cheat on him.
  • "Prove it," says Iachimo. He's convinced that there isn't a woman around who could refuse his charms. He'll head on over to England and seduce Imogen. Seriously, this dude is actually suggesting an international seduction plot.
  • If Iachimo succeeds, he'll take Posthumus's fancy ring (the one from Imogen). He'll also acquire mad bragging rights.
  • Posthumus is confident enough to take that bet. His terms: if Iachimo strikes out with Imogen, then he'll have to pay Posthumus 10,000 ducats.
  • Challenge accepted.
  • As the men leave to write down the terms of their wager with a lawyer, the Frenchmen and Philario talk about what just happened. They let us in on a secret about Iachimo: he's not one to let go of things. Uh-oh.

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