A monologue from the play "Cymbeline" by William Shakespeare

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About this Monologue

  • Character: Iachimo
  • Gender: Male
  • Age Range(s): Young Adult (20-35)
  • Type of monologue / Character is: Descriptive, Malicious/scheming
  • Type: Serio-comic
  • Period: Renaissance
  • Genre: Romance, Drama, Comedy
  • Description: Iachimo steals Imogen's bracelet
  • Location: ACT II, Scene 2

Summary

Cymbeline is Britain's king. His daughter Imogen was supposed to marry Cymbeline's new Queen's son, Cloten. Imogen, however, marries a poor gentleman, Posthumus. When the king finds out he decides to exile Posthumus to Italy and has his daughter locked away. Pisanio, Posthumus loyal servant, remains in England and becomes Imogen's servant.

In Italy Posthumus meets several friends. One of them, Iachimo, argues that all women can be seduced. When Posthumus says that Imogen will never cheat on him, the two make a bet. Iachimo goes to England to try to seduce Imogen. If he succeeds then Posthumus will give him the ...

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Excerpt

IACHIMO
The crickets sing, and man's o'er-labour'd sense
Repairs itself by rest. Our Tarquin thus
Did softly press the rushes, ere he waken'd
The chastity he wounded. Cytherea,
How bravely thou becomest thy bed, fresh lily,
And whiter than the sheets! That I might touch!
But kiss; one kiss! Rubies unparagon'd,
How dearly they do't! 'Tis her breathing that
Perfumes the chamber thus: the flame o' the taper
Bows toward her, and would under-peep her lids,
To see the enclosed lights, now canopied
Under these windows, white and azure laced
With blue of heaven's own tinct. But my design,
To note the chamber: I will write all down:
Such and such pictures; there the window; such
The adornment of her bed; the arras; figures,
Why, such and such; and the contents o' the story.
Ah, but some natural notes about her body,
Above ten thousand meaner moveables
Would testify, to enrich mine inventory.
O sleep, thou ape of death, lie dull upon her!
And be her sense but as a monument,
Thus in a chapel lying! Come off, come off:

[Taking off her bracelet]

As slippery as the Gordian knot was hard!
'Tis mine; and this will witness outwardly,
As strongly as the conscience does within,
To the madding of her lord. On her left breast
A mole cinque-spotted, like the crimson drops
I' the bottom of a cowslip: here's a voucher,
Stronger than ever law could make: this secret
Will force him think I have pick'd the lock and ta'en
The treasure of her honour. No more. To what end?
Why should I write this down, that's riveted,
Screw'd to my memory? She hath been reading late
The tale of Tereus; here the leaf's turn'd down
Where Philomel gave up. I have enough:
To the trunk again, and shut the spring of it.
Swift, swift, you dragons of the night, that dawning
May bare the raven's eye! I lodge in fear;
Though this a heavenly angel, hell is here.



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