Study Guide

Cymbeline, King of Britain Act 2, Scene 3

By William Shakespeare

Act 2, Scene 3

Read the full text of Cymbeline Act 2 Scene 3 with a side-by-side translation HERE.


  • Cloten figures that the way to a lady's heart is through music. So he orders musicians to serenade Imogen as she wakes.
  • When that doesn't work, Cloten dismisses the musicians. Cymbeline and the Queen see this and tell him to keep it up: they really want this marriage to happen—despite the fact that, you know, Imogen is already married.
  • In the middle of the conversation, a messenger enters with news that a man from Rome asks to see the king.
  • Cymbeline is worried because he knows the guy from Rome is angry, but he figures he should greet him.
  • Cloten takes his mom and stepdad's advice to heart: he'll be persistent whether Imogen likes him or not.
  • Cloten knocks on Imogen's door, and one of her ladies in waiting answers. Ever the klutz, Cloten tries to bribe the lady for the gossip on Imogen. He's kidding himself.
  • None of this works, of course. Imogen comes out while Cloten's making a fool of himself trying to give the lady gold.
  • Imogen is cold toward Cloten and calls him a fool. Cloten retorts by saying that she's disobeying her father by marrying someone other than him.
  • Imogen tells Cloten he's too "base" (translation: unworthy) to be even Posthumus's servant. Then she tells him that even Posthumus's cheapest clothes ("meanest garment") are more valuable to her than Cloten.
  • It's on.
  • Cloten is furious and vows to take vengeance on Posthumus. He's so shocked that he keeps muttering stuff about Posthumus's "garment."
  • But Imogen doesn't really care. During the insult slewing, Pisanio came in, and now Imogen orders him to find her precious bracelet.
  • Imogen remembers that the bracelet was on her arm, and she kissed it. It's gone now, though, and she's really worried about it.
  • They all exit: Pisanio and Imogen to find the bracelet, and Cloten to yell about how he's gonna get revenge on Imogen for dissing him.

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