William Shakespeare, Cymbeline

Ros King (University of Southampton)
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Originally listed amongst the tragedies in the First Folio of 1623,


is an archetypal example of English tragi-comedy in which both hilarity and pathos are found in the most gruesome and appalling of events. In keeping with this genre the repeated and often ridiculous use of disguise in both speech and clothing allows considerable comment on the corruption of courts, and the stupidity and cruelty of ruling classes. The story of British resistance against Roman invasion, and in particular the choice from this four hundred year struggle of Cymbeline, King at the time of the birth of Christ, also raises an analogy with the relations between the Britain of James I and the Holy Roman Empire. Historical names and details are taken from Holinshed's chronicle history of England, in which…

2657 words

Citation: King, Ros. "Cymbeline". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 30 June 2002 [https://www.litencyc.com/php/sworks.php?rec=true&UID=5778, accessed 19 June 2024.]

5778 Cymbeline 3 Historical context notes are intended to give basic and preliminary information on a topic. In some cases they will be expanded into longer entries as the Literary Encyclopedia evolves.

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