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MonkeyNotes-Cymbeline by William Shakespeare
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Act V, Scene 4

Posthumus is led into a British prison and left there in chains. Strangely enough, he rejoices in the captivity because death will free him from both physical and spiritual bondage. Although his sorrow and contrition are enough to pardon him in God's eyes, he wishes to give up his life in return for Imogen's. Exhausted, he sleeps and in his sleep, he has a vision.

To the accompaniment of solemn music, the ghosts of Posthumus's father, mother, and his two brothers who have died in battle, enter. They circle round the sleeping Posthumus and appeal to Jupiter to take pity on him. They recount the various unjust events in Posthumus's life, and ask Jupiter why he has allowed these to happen. Jupiter descends in thunder and lightning, seated upon an eagle. The ghosts grow silent as Jupiter tells them that those he loved most, he puts to the test. He then lays on Posthumus' breast a written oracular, foretelling the end of his troubles. Jupiter and the ghosts vanish, and Posthumus awakens from his sleep. He finds a parchment on his chest that contains a riddle that promises when the riddle is solved and complete then Posthumus's miseries will end, and Britain shall flourish in peace and plenty. Posthumus, however, considers it all just a dream and refuses to hope for anything.


The jailers enter, and Posthumus is quite enthusiastic when they ask him if he is ready to die. When one jailer mentions that death means no more worries nor bills, Posthumus declares that he is happy to die. Just then, a messenger arrives from Cymbeline, asking for the prisoners to be brought before him. The jailers are amazed at Posthumus' eagerness as he faces death.

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