Study Guide

Cymbeline, King of Britain Act 3, Scene 5

By William Shakespeare

Act 3, Scene 5

Read the full text of Cymbeline Act 3 Scene 5 with a side-by-side translation HERE.


  • Lucius meets with Cymbeline and company again, hoping they will reconsider the whole stick-it-to-Rome plan.
  • Cymbeline doesn't reconsider. He boldly tells Lucius that they are going where Britain has never gone before: they are totally not going to pay the tribute.
  • Lucius wishes this were not the case, but he leaves for Milford-Haven. The Queen likes that they've given Lucius reason to frown.
  • Cymbeline decides he wants to see his daughter. She hasn't been around much, and she looks at him like he's "malice" lately.
  • The Queen says Imogen's been that way since Posthumus's exile.
  • When the attendant returns with news that Imogen's chamber doors were locked, Cymbeline grows suspicious. The Queen says she went to see her before and was told that Imogen was sick.
  • Cymbeline rushes out to find Imogen.
  • Cloten then chimes in with an observation that he hasn't seen Imogen or her servant Pisanio in two days. The Queen orders her son to follow the king.
  • Alone on stage, the Queen dishes. She doesn't really care where Imogen and Pisanio are, but she realizes that if Imogen is gone, then she, the Queen,is totally in charge of the British crown.
  • That's a total win for the Queen.
  • Cloten returns with a bombshell: Imogen has taken off. This is good news, says the Queen to herself. Then she leaves.
  • Pisanio enters the scene, and Cloten confronts him about Imogen's whereabouts. Pisanio decides to send Cloten on a fool's errand since his mistress has surely left Britain safely by now. He tells Cloten that Imogen has gone to Milford-Haven.
  • This is the perfect opportunity for Cloten to get his revenge on Imogen for saying that he was worse than Posthumus's clothes. He sends Pisanio to fetch those very clothes. He's going to wear them, and while he's wearing them, he's going to "ravish" Imogen and kill Posthumus.
  • He's taking this revenge thing very seriously.

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