Cymbeline: Novel Summary: Act 2 Scene 1

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Summary
Cloten is playing bowls with some Lords and losing. A Lord asks Cloten if he knows of the Italian visitor to court, Iachimo, a friend of Posthumus's. Cloten does not, and goes to seek him out. The Second Lord, left alone, marvels "That such a crafty devil as is his mother / Should yield the world this ass!" (lines 54-5). She is a woman who "Bears all down with her brain," whereas Cloten cannot take two from twenty. The Lord pities Imogen for her unhappy position between her father ruled by her stepmother, the stepmother "hourly coining plots" (line 61), and a hateful suitor who wants to divorce her from her husband. He prays that Imogen holds firm.
Analysis
This scene adds little to the action of the play, and much of the dialogue is of poor quality, leading some critics to suspect that it is not Shakespeare's but has been interpolated by an unknown hand. Its main function seems to be to further expose Cloten's unrefined nature, to compare his stupidity with his mother's cunning, and to establish that he did not know of Iachimo's presence at court.

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