OK, so I was starting to look for speeches in Cymbeline to break down in close readings, and I instantly thought of two: the Iachimo-in-the-bedchamber speech, and Posthumus’ rant against women near the end of Act Two. And I figured those were the two main soliloquies in the play (and yes, I know that technically the bedchamber speech isn’t a soliloquy because there is someone on stage with him at the time, but she’s asleep, all right?).
I figured that that was that, that this play, like our last one (Coriolanus), had only a couple of soliloquies.
Uh, no. There are nearly a dozen and a half soliloquies (of 10 or more lines) in the play.
Another early summer Friday, another new release. Out in the world, it’s Tom Cruise and his Mummy reboot. For us, a not-review of Cymbeline.
[NOTE: when I do the reviews revue–see what I did there?–I view the videos all in the same month if possible (Macbeth with its slew made it a little difficult). I don’t technically review anything I haven’t seen recently..thus, what follows is a “not-review”]
The first printing of Cymbeline was in the First Folio of 1623, after Shakespeare’s death. There was no Quarto edition. The play comes at the very end of the book on page 877; it’s the last play of the tragedy section, and its title page looks like:
So, you’re a pretty nice guy. Got this beautiful fiancée or wife, and she’s totally faithful to you. And this dude comes along and tells you that she’s been disloyal. You get sad then mad, and you want her killed. We’ve seen this before in Othello and now Cymbeline. You’re the Moor or Posthumus. She’s Desdemona or Hero. And that “dude” is Iago or Iachimo.
This week’s podcast continues our two-month discussion of Cymbeline. We’re going to start off with a look at the video versions of the play that are available, and then take a look at the question of character names.
Another early summer Friday, another new release: Wonder Woman. And for us, another new–or rather old–video version of Cymbeline. In 1982, as part of the sixth season of the BBC Complete Works series, Elijah Moshinsky directed his version. As with just about all of the BBC films, this one’s pretty stagey, and very faux Elizabethan. Well, really this one looks almost more Old Masters-ry, but that’s neither here nor there.
Way back when, two years ago, when we were discussing that melancholic Dane, I mentioned that our friend scansion had helped us figure out how we were supposed to pronounce Ophelia’s big bro’s name: not “LAYerTEES” (like I had alway thought), but “layAIRtees.” Go figure. Who knew we’d get that same kind of revelation this month with Cymbeline? But we do…
So, for those who’ve been following the blog for any length of time, you know I’ve been loving the New Oxford Shakespeare Authorship Companion. It gives us a great look at the latest research as to who may have assisted Shakespeare in the composition of the plays.
Much was made last fall of the announcement, based on this work, that the three Henry VI plays are more co-compositions with Christopher Marlowe, with the first part actually being more the work of Marlowe.
So what does the Authorship Companion have to say about Cymbeline?