Category Archives: tragi-comedy/romance

Midpoint: dramatic, not thematic?

Using Professor Rodes’ midpoint theory, let’s take a look at Cymbeline.

There are 3288 lines in in the play, which means the midpoint is at line 1644, or at Act Three, Scene Four, line 185. According to Dr. Rodes’ theory, you could find at this midpoint–or within twenty lines either way–a speech that perfectly sums up a major theme of the play (the 20-line leeway was to help remove the differences in prose line lengths between individual editions).

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Cymbeline: directing the stage

With every play, toward the end of the discussion cycle, I like to address a subject that rocks my world, but probably bores the socks off you. Well, since it’s my blog, I get to do what I want. And I want to talk about stage directions hidden in plain sight within the dialog. While these later plays do tend to have more stage directions than before (like the bizarre war correspondency that opens Act Five, Scene Two; or the truly truly bizarre directions around the dream of Posthumus Leonatus), there are still some hidden nuggets. And what are Cymbeline’s nuggets? (that sounded like it belonged to our discussion of bawdy)

Well, let’s see…

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Cymbeline production questions, part two

A long time ago (OK, it was only three weeks)…I wrote about Cymbeline and the question of casting. As in, “How do you cut the casting requirements from the 40 in the play, to something more manageable?” It was more rhetorical than anything, going off on tangents that took us to experimental 6-actor casts for both Shakespeare’s Globe and Fiasco Theater.

Here’s a different, but related question.

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Cymbeline speech study: the wake-up call

Over the last week or so, I’ve been discussing some of the major speeches from Cymbeline. I started off with Act Two’s Iachimo-in-the-Box speech. Last weekend, I touched upon Posthumus’ full-scene, single-speech rant against women. Today, let’s move from the men to the main woman of the piece: Innogen.

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Podcast 155: Cymbeline — a bit o’ bawdy, a speech, and burlesque [EXPLICIT]


[WARNING: The the first portion of the following podcast contains adult language, sexual imagery, and stuff to make you say, “Man, that’s a dirty play.” You HAVE been warned. SKIP TO THE 12:50 MARK IF  EASILY OFFENDED.]

This week’s podcast continues our two-month discussion of Cymbeline. We’re going to start off with a look at bawdy in the play, an exploration of one of the great speeches from the play, and a review of a fun little bit of non-Cymbeline-related bawdiness.

Continue reading Podcast 155: Cymbeline — a bit o’ bawdy, a speech, and burlesque [EXPLICIT]

Cymbeline and bawdiness: in with a villain, out with a clown


Eric Partridge, in his study of and dictionary for the bawdy in the Bard, Shakespeare’s Bawdy, has this to say about our play: “Cymbeline in many ways resembles The Winter’s Tale, which is slightly less bawdy but rather more sexual. They are of much the same quantitative order as All’s Well.” (Shakespeare’s Bawdy, Partridge, Eric. New York: Routledge Classics, 2001; page 58). OK, so, we haven’t read The Winter’s Tale yet (that’s next), but we have read All’s Well, and that play’s got some dirt, but isn’t that dirty. I know, not very helpful.

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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.

Continue reading Soliloquies