Review: Cymbeline

Cymbeline by William Shakespeare

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Book Review

3 out of 5 stars to Cymbeline, a play written in 1611 by William Shakespeare. I read this during a Shakespeare course in college and then watched a film version. My review covers both. There seems to be a very dark aura surrounding the characters and the setting. All of the characters seem to be angry with each other, as though they do not like each other. Cymbeline didn’t get along with his wife nor with his daughter. Cymbeline as suppose to be an anxious and frustrated man, yet he appeared to be sickly and weak instead. The forces in the play were controlled by some other figure, instead of how they were in the actual words of the play. The set was mostly back with gold trim and the characters were often in silhouette. This darkness about the set and characters made the emotions and psychology of the play seem dark also.
Moshinsky (director) wanted the characters to appear as though they were alone. I definitely got this impression. When Imogen was locked in her room trying to find her bracelet, the camera went back and forth between her and Cloten serenading her. They weren’t in the same room, yet there was a divider between them. Neither seemed close to anyone. They were separate entities. The psychological interpretation of these behaviors, as directed by Moshinsky, was somewhat confusing. It seemed as though the director was focusing on optimism — as in the death songs of Imogen. I suppose the behaviors then would be forgiveness and helpfulness and kindness. All three are evident in the play and shown in the film we saw. The unraveling scene at the end showed the forgiveness of Iachimo, etc. It was light-hearted by that point.
As for the meaning of the play – it was definitely challenging to me, especially after watching the video and seeing a different interpretation than I thought it was. When I saw Cloten’s bloody head dripping and Imogen lying next to the bloody body, bathing herself in it, etc. I then saw the dark emotions of death and it’s repercussions. However, within the death, it was portrayed as though it was nothing. The psychology here could be shown as the director believing that the play was very dark, when in my opinion it was more light and happy. The only horrible part was the death of Cloten. In the text it seemed bloody, but not disgusting. In the video, it was horrific. So, it was more of a murky version than what I expected it to be. I was thrown by these dark emotional scenes which was the opposite of how I interpreted the play.

About Me

For those new to me or my reviews… here’s the scoop: I read A LOT. I write A LOT. And now I blog A LOT. First the book review goes on Goodreads, and then I send it on over to my WordPress blog at, where you’ll also find TV & Film reviews, the revealing and introspective 365 Daily Challenge and lots of blogging about places I’ve visited all over the world. And you can find all my social media profiles to get the details on the who/what/when/where and my pictures. Leave a comment and let me know what you think. Vote in the poll and ratings. Thanks for stopping by.

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