Cymbeline

Is there no way for men to be but women

Posthumus Leonatus

Cymbeline

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Basics

Show
Character
Gender
Age Range
Style
Scene
Act 2 Scene 5
Time & Place
Ancient Italy
Length
Time Period
Show Type

Monologue Context

Posthumus had made a bet with Iachimo that his friend cannot seduce Posthumus' faithful wife,

Monologue Text

Is there no way for men to be but women

Must be half-workers? We are all bastards;

And that most venerable man which I

Did call my father, was I know not where

When I was stamp'd; some coiner with his tools

Made me a counterfeit: yet my mother seem'd

The Dian of that time so doth my wife

The nonpareil of this. O, vengeance, vengeance!

Me of my lawful pleasure she restrain'd

And pray'd me oft forbearance; did it with

A pudency so rosy the sweet view on't

Might well have warm'd old Saturn; that I thought her

As chaste as unsunn'd snow. O, all the devils!

This yellow Iachimo, in an hour,--wast not?--

Or less,--at first?--perchance he spoke not, but,

Like a full-acorn'd boar, a German one,

Cried 'O!' and mounted; found no opposition

But what he look'd for should oppose and she

Should from encounter guard. Could I find out

The woman's part in me! For there's no motion

That tends to vice in man, but I affirm

It is the woman's part: be it lying, note it,

The woman's; flattering, hers; deceiving, hers;

Lust and rank thoughts, hers, hers; revenges, hers;

Ambitions, covetings, change of prides, disdain,

Nice longing, slanders, mutability,

All faults that may be named, nay, that hell knows,

Why, hers, in part or all; but rather, all;

For even to vice

They are not constant but are changing still

One vice, but of a minute old, for one

Not half so old as that. I'll write against them,

Detest them, curse them: yet 'tis greater skill

In a true hate, to pray they have their will:

The very devils cannot plague them better.

William Shakespeare Cymbeline Act 2 sc.5 ll.1-35