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Is there a record of how "Cymbeline"'s character names would have been...

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umbragetaker | eNotes Newbie

Posted December 4, 2008 at 2:23 AM via web

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Is there a record of how "Cymbeline"'s character names would have been pronounced?

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robertwilliam | College Teacher | (Level 2) Senior Educator

Posted December 4, 2008 at 6:41 AM (Answer #1)

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In a word, no! John Barton (in his book "Playing Shakespeare") talks about original pronunciation, and I've put a link below to an audio excerpt which gives you an idea of how scholars think that actors in Shakespeare's day might have spoken. But it is all theoretical: obviously, Shakespeare lived long before the age of the tape recorder.

Cymbeline's character names, though tend to be fairly uniformly pronounced. I've put below what is most usual - say it as it's written in the brackets:

Cymbeline (SIM-BAA-LEAN)
Cloten (probably CLOTTEN [to rhyme with "rotten"], though you sometimes hear CLOA-TEN)
Imogen (IMM-OH-JEN)
Posthumus (POSS-CHEW-MESS)
Iachimo (YACK-EE-MO)
Belarius (BELL-AH-REE-US)
Guiderius (GID-AIR-REE-US)
Arviragus (ARE-VIG-ARE-US)

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