A monologue from the play "Cymbeline" by William Shakespeare

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About this Monologue

  • Character: Posthumus
  • Gender: Male
  • Age Range(s): Young Adult (20-35)
  • Type of monologue / Character is: Angry, Persuasive, Depressed, Lamenting, Complaining, Frustrated
  • Type: Dramatic
  • Period: Renaissance
  • Genre: Romance, Drama, Comedy
  • Description: Posthumus curses women
  • Location: ACT II, Scene 5

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

POSTHUMUS LEONATUS
Is there no way for men to be but women
Must be half-workers? We are all bastards;
And that most venerable man which I
Did call my father, was I know not where
When I was stamp'd; some coiner with his tools
Made me a counterfeit: yet my mother seem'd
The Dian of that time so doth my wife
The nonpareil of this. O, vengeance, vengeance!
Me of my lawful pleasure she restrain'd
And pray'd me oft forbearance; did it with
A pudency so rosy the sweet view on't
Might well have warm'd old Saturn; that I thought her
As chaste as unsunn'd snow. O, all the devils!
This yellow Iachimo, in an hour,--wast not?--
Or less,--at first?--perchance he spoke not, but,
Like a full-acorn'd boar, a German one,
Cried 'O!' and mounted; found no opposition
But what he look'd for should oppose and she
Should from encounter guard. Could I find out
The woman's part in me! For there's no motion
That tends to vice in man, but I affirm
It is the woman's part: be it lying, note it,
The woman's; flattering, hers; deceiving, hers;
Lust and rank thoughts, hers, hers; revenges, hers;
Ambitions, covetings, change of prides, disdain,
Nice longing, slanders, mutability,
All faults that may be named, nay, that hell knows,
Why, hers, in part or all; but rather, all;
For even to vice
They are not constant but are changing still
One vice, but of a minute old, for one
Not half so old as that. I'll write against them,
Detest them, curse them: yet 'tis greater skill
In a true hate, to pray they have their will:
The very devils cannot plague them better.



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