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Cymbeline: Second Series (Arden Shakespeare) 2nd Edition

26 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-1903436028
ISBN-10: 1903436028
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Cymbeline: Second Series (Arden Shakespeare) + The Winter's Tale: Third Series (Arden Shakespeare) + The Tempest (The Pelican Shakespeare)
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Editorial Reviews

Review

“A remarkable edition, one that makes Shakespeare’s extraordinary accomplishment more vivid than ever.”—James Shapiro, professor, Columbia University, bestselling author of A Year in the Life of Shakespeare: 1599
 
“A feast of literary and historical information.”—The Wall Street Journal --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

About the Author

William Shakespeare (1564-1616) was an English dramatist, poet, and actor, generally regarded as the greatest playwright of all time.
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Product Details

  • Series: Arden Shakespeare (Book 2)
  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury Arden Shakespeare; 2 edition (October 1, 1969)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1903436028
  • ISBN-13: 978-1903436028
  • Product Dimensions: 5 x 0.7 x 7.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (26 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #912,645 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

60 of 68 people found the following review helpful By "lexo-2" on October 21, 2000
Format: Paperback
"Cymbeline" is my favourite Shakespeare play. It's also probably his loopiest. It has three plots, managing to drag in a banishment, a murder, a wicked queen, a moment of almost sheer pornography, a full-on battle between the Romans and the British, a spunky heroine, her jealous but not-really-all-that-bad husband, some fantastic poetry and Jupiter himself descending out of heaven on an eagle to tell the husband to pull his finger out and get looking for his wife. Finally, just when your head is spinning with all the cross-purposes and dangling resolutions, Shakespeare pulls it all together with shameless neatness and everybody lives happily ever after. Except for the wicked queen, and her son, who had his head cut off in Act 4.
"Cymbeline" is, then, completely nuts, but it manages also to be very moving. Quentin Tarantino once described his method as "placing genre characters in real-life situations" - Shakespeare pulls off the far more rewarding trick of placing realistic characters in genre situations. Kicking off with one of the most brazen bits of expository dialogue he ever created, not even bothering to give the two lords who have to explain the back story an ounce of personality, Shakespeare quickly recovers full control and races through his long, complex and deeply implausible narrative at a headlong pace. The play is outrageously theatrical, and yet intensely observed. Imogen's reaction on reading her husband's false accusation of her infidelity is a riveting mixture of hurt and anger; she goes through as much tragedy as a Juliet, yet is less inclined to buckle and snap under the pressure. When she wakes up next to a headless body that she believes to be her husband, her aria of grief is one of the finest WS ever wrote.
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20 of 24 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on March 29, 2000
Format: Paperback
This is probably one of the most outdated and misleading of the Arden editions. Nosworthy really doesn't like the play and dismisses it as an experiment leading up to _The Tempest_. Even his editing of the text is affected by his reading of the play. Only scholars who know something about Shakespeare should venture here.
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19 of 24 people found the following review helpful By Sean Ares Hirsch on April 3, 2000
Format: Paperback
A combination of "Romeo and Juliet," "Much Ado About Nothing," "As You Like It," and "King Lear?" Well somehow, Shakespeare made it work. Like "Romeo and Juliet" we have a protagonist (Imogen) who falls under her father's rages because she will not marry who he wants her to. Like "Much Ado About Nothing," we have a villain (Iachimo) who tries to convince a man (Posthumus) that the woman he loves is full of infidelity. Like "As You Like It," we have exiled people who praise life in the wilderness and a woman who disguises herself as a man to search for her family in the wilderness. Like "King Lear," we have a king who's rages and miscaculated judgement lead to disastorous consequences. What else is there? Only beautiful language, multiple plots, an evil queen who tries to undermind the king, an action filled war, suspense, a dream with visions of Pagan gods, and a beautiful scene of reconciliation at the end. While this is certainly one of Shakespeare's longer plays, it is well worth the time.
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12 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Ralph White on January 5, 2008
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Cymbeline is one of Shakespeare's least performed and least read plays. You do not stumble on it, you work your way through Shakespeare's opus and finally get there. The historical context is the war between Britain and the Roman Empire, and the action is hot and heavy, requiring five acts and twenty-seven scenes. Perhaps it is this complexity of plot that retarded Shakespeare's character development. Fewer lines have entered our lexicon from this play than most. Two exceptions are "the tongue is sharper than the sword," and to have "a bellyful of fighting." It is an excellent tragedy, however, combining elements of King Lear and elements of Othello. In its mystic elements it also resembles The Tempest.

The core of the plot is the bet between Posthumous, the king's son, and Iachimo, who wagers ten thousand ducats that he can seduce Posthumous' wife, Imogen. Posthumous, in turn, wagers a ring that Imogen has given him that Iachimo will not succeed. Initially, we amused by the idea, but upon further reflection, it is clear that the gambit cannot have a happy ending. Either the seduction is successful, breaking up the marriage, or it isn't, in which case Iachimo will certainly claim that he has secuced Imogen, simply to win the ring. In the process he sets himself the Iago-like task of converting love to hate.

The play is also full of classic Shakespearean gadgetry, including a potion that causes a trance resembling death, mystical soothsayers, the intervention of gods, women disguised as men, and a historical tableau which would have been familiar to Shakespeare's audience. It is a quintessential Shakespearean play, comprising nearly all of the classical elements of tragedy.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By M. Miller on February 15, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I think you're all missing the point (or a bunch of ringers from digireads.com). What we have here is the basic text derived a scanned version of the play, with no background information on how the text came to be. It's a decent enough interpretation, but with absolutely no editorial assistance to understand the language or the context in which the ideas of the author are set forth. Definitely better than nothing, though.
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