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

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

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)

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team

Posted on

Soaring plane image

We’ll help your grades soar

Start your 48-hour free trial and unlock all the summaries, Q&A, and analyses you need to get better grades now.

  • 30,000+ book summaries
  • 20% study tools discount
  • Ad-free content
  • PDF downloads
  • 300,000+ answers
  • 5-star customer support
Start your 48-Hour Free Trial