Cymbeline by William Shakespeare
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Cymbeline the king of Britain has a daughter Imogen. He wants to marry her to her stepson Cloten, son from his second wife, but he is a boor. She marries Leonatus, and Cymbeline banishes him. He finds a “friend” in Rome, Iachimo, who bets he can seduce Imogen. He sneaks in her room at night but doesn’t do anything, convincing Leonatus he did it. Leonatus in rage sends to have Imogen killed. She is headed for him, and meets with the king’s long-lost sons, her brothers.
Two important themes are slander, and how nobility can shine even in humble settings. Iachimo slanders Imogen, and Leonatus believes it enough to foolishly take up the bet to seduce her. Imogen blames her servant wrongly for thinking Leonatus dead. The sons are living rustically, but are noble-minded. They are drawn to Imogen, though she is a road-worn traveler.
This one has a happy ending, and it was a delight to see the king rescued from his enemies, foreign and domestic, and to see the slanderer get his due.
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