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.
Posthumus has more soliloquies than any other character, with five. Cloten has four (weirdly enough, two are entirely in prose). Pisanio has two soliloquies of more than 10 lines (and a third of six lines). Innogen has two, and so does Iachimo.
Iachimo, in the bedchamber (with the chest), has the longest with 44 lines, but Innogen is right behind with a 42-line speech when she wakes up and finds the decapitated body next to her. On this length issue, there’s something of note: Belarius’ big reveal to the audience of who he and the boys are is 39 lines long…but he leads into it with a 14-line speech before the boys leave, so he has the longest uninterrupted string of lines at 53.
What does it mean? Well, if I were to hazard a guess, and I am, I’d say that this play (and its characters) is more introspective than Coriolanus and its characters.
And it gives me a great idea for an infographic…I just need to find time, damn it!