Title

Imogen

Classification

Medium


Summary

A princess, falsely accused of infidelity and condemned to death, escapes disguised as a page and journeys across country to exonerate herself, unaware she is being pursued by her loathsome step-brother who plans to rape her and kill her husband.

A king’s daughter goes against her father’s wishes and marries a lowborn gentleman instead of her oafish step-brother. The angry king banishes the husband from Britain so the marriage can be annulled.

While waiting in Rome the husband is drawn into a heated discussion in defence of her honour and accepts a wager made against her fidelity.

Shown false proof by the cheat, the despairing husband sends orders to his servant in Britain to murder princess Imogen for being unfaithful.

The servant, knowing her innocence, provides a disguise for her to masquerade as a boy page and travel to Wales where she can hitch a ride to Rome.

Meanwhile the step-oaf forces the servant to reveal Imogen’s destination and he races after her, determined to ravage and humiliate her, then drag her back to court.

What none of them count on is that actions taken years previously interfere with their plans.

Like a Roman invasion of Britain by way of Wales.

Details

This is a prose version of the play pruned of the grammatical weeds surrounding 4 centuries of language growth.

Minimalistic prose descriptions of actions and movements were added only where necessary, the primary focus being the rich texture of the original words.

The title refers to the main character, the Princess of the story.

“Probably no play of Shakespeare’s is generally appreciated so far below its real merits as Cymbeline . . . it yields its gold only to the earnest miner, not to the mere scraper of the surface . . . a denouement of unsurpassed interest in the unraveling of a most intricate plot . . . the most fully drawn “portrait of a lady” in the whole gallery of Shakespeare’s women, his ideal of womanhood, the peerless Imogen.”   Alfred J. Wyatt.

Shakespeare Light

The Shakespeare Light series are prose editions of his plays updated and edited from original sources and adjusted for 400 years of language development.

These include:

The Most Excellent and Lamentable Tragedy of Romeo and Juliet – Madmen Have No Ears.

The Tragedy of Cymbeline – Imogen.

The Tragical History of Hamlet, Prince of Denmark – Not To Be.

It seems reasonable to me that if linguists agree that the pronunciation of words has changed quite drastically in 400 years and that to get the real true value out of the poetry of Shakespeare one would have to speak with that same pronunciation which would make it even more difficult to understand. Even the rhythm of word phrases becomes difficult when pronunciation has changed that much. Only that would be pure Shakespeare.

I applied that same logic to the words themselves and updated them accordingly.
imogen-new-back-v1