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MonkeyNotes-Cymbeline by William Shakespeare
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Act III, Scene 2

Pisanio is astonished at the letter he has received from his master, accusing Imogen of adultery. He knows the power and strength of her love and chastity, and wonders who has poisoned his master's mind. Posthumus has written that Pisanio should kill Imogen, and that Posthumus himself, in his letter to Imogen, had provided the opportunity. The noble Pisanio is unable to even think of committing such a crime, but reveals nothing to Imogen when she arrives.

Pisanio only reads half of the letter which states that Posthumus is in Cambria (Wales), at Milford-Haven, and wants Imogen to meet him there. His aim is to have Pisanio kill her on the way to Milford-Haven, but Imogen does not know this yet. She immediately prepares to leave for Milford-Haven and appeals to Pisanio to make the necessary arrangements for horses and to get her a riding-suit that should not be ostentatious. She also has to think of an excuse to explain her absence at court for a couple of days, that will help her get way before her absence is noticed. Pisanio, who is aware of the dark fate planned for her by Posthumus, can only listen in silence. He attempts to derail her plans but does not tell her now.


Notes

The scene opens with Pisanio's soliloquy and conveys the order given by Posthumus to murder Imogen, whom he charges with adultery. Pisanio's reaction to it raises him in the reader's estimation. The whole scene, after the entry of Imogen, is an example of prolonged dramatic irony. It gives a tinge of pathos to her enthusiastic, ardent talk as Imogen only thinks of how slow traveling feels (for a lover), and wishes for a horse with wings. Her love for Posthumus is deep and sharply contrasted to his wrathful feelings against her supposed infidelity. In this scene, with Imogen's flight from the court, the action now begins to move towards a solution of the complication.

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MonkeyNotes-Cymbeline by William Shakespeare
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