Shakespeare and Psychoanalysis: “Between Fantasy and Imagination A Psychological Exploration of Cymbeline”

by Murray M. Schwartz

August 25, 2005


abstract

This essay is a psychoanalytic reading of Cymbeline, and the first of a triptych of essays on Cymbeline and The Winter’s Tale. At the psychological core of the play is the idealized figure of Imogen, whose chastity is the guarantor of generational continuity in the patriarchal structure of the Shakespearean family. Imogen’s integrity is attacked by the phallic assault of Cloten and by the intrusions of Iachimo, figures who enact displaced aspects of Posthumus’ character. The breakdown of the family consequent to these violations and the disintegration of the parental couple, leads to the restoration of the body of the family and the reunion of the lovers under the supervision of the deus ex machina, Jupiter. Though Cymbeline re-members idealized relationships, Shakespeare has not yet achieved the depth of imaginative power that is realized in the portrayal of Leontes’ madness (Part II) and the transformations of loss in The Winter’s Tale (Part III).

article

 

Virtutis est domare quae cuncti pavent. –Seneca



In his introduction to the Arden edition, J. M. Nosworthy observes that "Cymbeline has evoked relatively little critical comment, and no completely satisfactory account of the play’s quality and significance can be said to exist."1 Although this statement comes as no surprise to students of this uneven and perplexing play, it does point up the fact that Cymbeline reveals few obvious clues to those who would derive its meaning from intrinsic relationships. Existing criticism simply leaves too much out of account in its attempts to find a "way in" capable of coordinating the play’s pervasive indirection, its lack of coherent atmosphere, its manifold strategies for controlling and directing an audience’s energies. Nosworthy’s own introduction demonstrates the inadequacy of measuring the play against traditional romance categories, since he is first forced to conclude the traditional romance categories, since he is first forced to conclude that Cymbeline will not conform to the mold and then ends up evoking transcendental visions beyond the range of his measuring rods. On the other hand, appeals to Shakespeare’s apparent external interests in a new theater or in new public demands diminish the significance of Cymbeline’s frequently violent verse and its obsession with sexuality, chastity, and family bonds.2

     Most critics (not content, as Johnson was, to dismiss the play as "unresisting imbecility"3) agree that the play experiments in some sense with conventional romance and tragicomic forms. But this approach often reduces Cymbeline’s specific preoccupations to Shakespeare’s relations with available dramatic modes of communication and expression. The Jacobean theater was a public institution through which Shakespeare transformed intensely individual obsessions into culturally accessible modes of questioning and resolution. He never experiments for superficial or abstract reasons, and he always experiments within traditional forms, not only with them. A play as unevenly committed to the high evaluation of its central characters, as uneven in tone, and as structurally complex as Cymbeline calls for criticism psychologically sophisticated enough to disclose precise relationships among its parts and to account for the particularity of its imagery and metaphors. The nature of the experiment is inseparable from the play’s manifest events and their unconscious as well as conscious significance.

     What kinds of events does Cymbeline involve? Shakespeare activates a range of characteristic threats to sexual, familial, and national integrity in an attempt to rescue these corresponding orders. These levels of ordered relationships mirror one another, sexual and familial integrity being essential to British self-esteem in the play. The play releases dangers in order to pattern them; it self-consciously affirms the hierarchic boundaries designed to master threats which traditional roles generate.

     At the end of Act II, scene I, after Iachimo has made his way into the court and Cloten has publicly displayed his licensed egotism, the anonymous Second Lord stands alone on the stage and shares this choral comment with the audience:


                          Alas poor princess,
 Thou divine Imogen, what thou endur’st,
 Betwixt a father by thy step-dame govern’d,
 A mother hourly coining plots, a wooer
 More hateful than the foul expulsion is
 Of they dear husband, than that horrid act
 Of the divorce, he’ld make, The heavens hold firm
 The walls of they dear honour, keep unshak’d
 That temple, they fair mind, that thou mayst stand,
 "I" enjoy thy banish’d lord and this great land! (II.i. 58-67)4

The speech moves from lament to prayer, from threats directed at Imogen’s sacred virtue to the wish for secure defense against pervasive enemies. From the top of its hierarchic structure the court jeopardizes the sacramental status of Imogen’s identity. The action of Cymbeline validates this microcosmic description. In this paranoiac world the Senecan (and Biblican) metaphor of the besieged temple crystallizes Imogen’s symbolic position. Cymbeline is largely about a dissociated world brought back to rooted stability by the elimination of threatening forces.

     The Second Lord’s speech gives one sign of this dissociation, not only in its content but also in the fact that a minor character provides on the play’s few summary statements. No Enobarbus reflects normative response in Cymbeline. The play tends to resolve itself into its elements, like a dream in the process of what Freud called secondary elaboration. That is to say, we feel that latent ideas shape manifest events, but our sense of the relationship between manifest event and thematic continuity becomes hazy and precarious. It is as if we were perceiving the action through the ego of Leontes in the first acts of The Winter’s Tale. Cymbeline projects a paranoiac vision of events almost complete from within, whereas The Winter’s Tale recreates paranoia from within and from without by containing the disease almost completely in the character of Leontes. One thing which makes the play so difficult, if not impossible, to read coherently is that the preoccupations of the individual characters spread throughout the imagery without undergoing that transformation into meaningful statements that usually characterizes Shakespeare’s iterative imagery. The play itself suffers from the dislocations it is about.

     Cymbeline is structured by a web of confusions between inner and outer reality, as Shakespeare shuffles relationships to bring psychological and social defenses into traditional order. The most directly corrosive threats to the moral continuity of the fragmented court and to Imogen’s personal integrity emanate from the designs Cloten is permitted to fabricate. His role gathers to a head perverse insistence on individual right based on the power of birth and social standing. As a focal point of deranged values he can be seen as a touchstone for the play’s sexual and social anxieties.

     Cloten’s first appearance signals his sacrificial role:

First Lord. Sir, I would advise you to shift a shirt; the violence of action hath made you reek as a sacrifice … ((I.iii. 1-2)

G. Wilson Knight says, "Cloten is a boastful fool: his name suggests clot-pole."5 But Cloten is more than a conventional fool; he is also cast as a prince, granted access to courtly models of action, made to distort royal decorum to the shape of his special preoccupations in ways more inflatedly dangerous than those of previous Shakespearean fools. His wishes are violent: ""Would there had been some hurt done!" (I.iii. 33). He represents in blunt and unabashed form the deepest hypocrisy, the bold and totally unexamined assertion of social privilege. Snobbish and boorish, he advertises moral vacuity and imaginative emptiness: "When a gentleman is dispos’d to swear, it is not for any standers-by to curtail his oaths" (II.i. 11-12). He attempts to solicit the cooperation of others on the assumption that they share his deep perversion.

     "Separation of feeling from function," writes C. L. Barber, "is at the root of perversity and lust."6 In Cloten we feel absolutely no residual reality: he is his roles. He provides the play with a parody of aristocratic decorum, a slashing critique of aristocratic degeneracy a revelation of sexual rawness and narcissistic libido, a palpable sense of rottenness. He literally smells. He is unadulterable phallic aggression: "… I must go up and down like a cock, that nobody can match" (II.i.23-24). The unconscious motives by which a degenerate aristocracy defines itself are brought to the surface in him: "it is fit I should commit offence to my inferiors" (II.i.30-31). For him Imogen is pure acquisition, a thing to be possessed, an object for the release of phallic libido.

     Cloten’s imagery reduces sexuality to its bodily effects by lowering metaphors to their physical origins. The rhetorical technique is called meiosis, "whereby one makes a thing appear less than it is by putting a less thing for a greater."7 In Act II, scene iii he is made deliberately disgusting, too crudely obvious to be comic. To the musicians he says, "if you can penetrate her with your fingering, so: we’ll try with tongue too …," (14-15). Nor is this barely clothed sexual drive confined to absurd attempts on Imogen’s body; the same scene announces the arrival of Caius Lucius, and III.i finds him using the same sexual fixations to justify political circumscription and defiance of Caesar’s authority. "Britain’s a world by itself, and we will nothing pay for wearing our own noses" (III.i. 13-14). In these two lines he brings together the play’s dominant images of economics and clothing. The nose obviously here assumes a phallic significance, displaces upward, and Cloten imagines it as detachable.8 It can display a reality independent of its current owner. In the archaic logic of the unconscious, Cloten represents isolated, detached, and uncontrolled phallic wishes that seek their objects relentlessly and without the least regard for otherness. These drives toward sexual gratification resist any inhibition of their aims and view the procedures of courtship merely as roadblocks on the way to release. "I will pursue her," he says, "even to Augustus’ throne" (III.v.101-102).

     Cloten operates within a closed system of obsessional thinking; his logic can never wrench free of the underlying aim he symbolizes. Determined by the categories of quantitative loss and gain, he becomes a grotesque parody of the courtly lover’s odi et amo, grotesque because of its excessive "rationality" and mechanical logic:


I love, and hate her: for she’s fair and royal,
And that she hath all courtly parts more exquisite
Than lady, ladies, woman, from every one
The best she hath, and she of all compounded
Outsells them all. I love her therefore, but
Disdaining me, and throwing favours on
The low Posthumus, slanders so her judgement
That what’s else rare is chok’d: and in that point
I will conclude to hate her, nay indeed,
To be reveng’d upon her. For, when fools
Shall—			(III.v. 71-81)

Imogen becomes a collection of attributes, "parts," a piece of merchandise which is either narcissistically had or paranoically rejected, possessed or contaminated. In this view Cloten presents us with the extreme of a condition present in Cymbeline, Posthumus, and even the lost sons. A central issue of the play crystallizes in Cloten: Who shall possess Imogen? To whom does she belong? For Cloten, love denied transmutes itself inexorably into the wish for revenge. Love becomes narcissism when gratification is assimilated to possession.

     Cloten moves from "love" to revenge with a closed logic at once laughable and frightening, and only ceases because he is interrupted, cut off in mid-speech. Words themselves represent a manic form of potency for him. Shakespeare projects in Cloten the obsessional, mechanical, unidirectional aspect of sexual drives. Detached from a pattern of civilized defenses, they act like an automatic, autonomous being, gravitating to itself infantile notions of magic and omnipotence and projecting the sanction for its action outside itself. Cloten appeals to the absolute authority of his mother (IV.i.22-24) to justify his pursuit of Imogen and attempts to gain the support of Pisanio by assuming that the drive for power over others is universal and psychologically determined. He "thinks" on a level at which all responses are determined by undiluted instincts:

     How fit his garments serve me! Why should his mistress who was made by him that made the tailor, not be fit too? The rather (saving reverence of the word) for ‘tis said a woman’s fitness comes by fits. (IV.i. 2-7)

Bad puns, and Shakespeare knew it, but Shakespeare also knew that bad puns express a real psychology, as Leontes’ jealousy proves. Bad puns form the free associations of the obsessional character; they are the capital in the economy of the lust-ridden demon. Cloten’s language capitalizes on the power of words to clothe the confusion of wish and reality. He rides the pun down the stream of his associations to the center of his interest.

     Four further aspects of Cloten’s nature and function deserve our recognition. First, this "arrogant piece of flesh" (IV.ii.127) is continually associated with dirt and excretory functions and with the sublimated counterpart, money. Words like "reek," "rot," "vent," "backside," "ass," "smell," "offense," "gold," "purse" surround him like flies or like the "south-fog" he wishes on the Romans. Gold, for Cloten, retains the magical powers of infantile feces: "what/Can it not do, and undo?" (II.iii.73-74)9 Anal aggression is here in the service of genital functions. Cloten embodies the belief that sexuality defiles its objects and drags chastity through the mire. Shakespeare has concentrated in him the usually repressed aspects of the orderly, excessively rational, and clean personality. Second, his defensive stupidity perfectly complements his aggressive arrogance: he simply cannot comprehend any statement which accurately identifies his nature. When Imogen compares him to Posthumus’ "mean’st garment" (II.iii.134) he stands entranced by the suggestion, as if it were beyond imagination. We recall Lucio’s reference in Measure for Measure to the "rebellion of codpiece" (III.ii.111), an appropriate description of Cloten.10 Third, Cloten’s intimate link with his mother’s designs associates his perversions with dependence on a "bad" woman. The infant’s feeling of absolute independence is based on the fact of absolute dependence. This psychoanalytic paradox accounts for the fact that Cloten and the Queen function as one unit in the play; with Cloten dead the Queen dies. The lurid connection receives marked emphasis in Guiderius’ disposal of Cloten’s head:

I have sent Cloten’s clotpoll down the stream,
In embassy to his mother … (IV.ii.184-185)

It is only after Cloten’s power has been cut off that the queen languishes in disease and the drama turns toward resolution of conflict and submission to authority, divine and human. Finally, this personification of infantile fixations stands at the right hand of the King, speaking for Cymbeline in defense of national honor and against the authority of Caesar. While the queen and Cloten exist, the play is webbed with confusions of role and identity, and patriarchal family structure is rendered powerless to reform itself.

     What is Cloten’s significance in the play? The very fact that sexual drives are isolated and split off from a whole personality indicates that Shakespeare has embodied a deep-rooted ambivalence in Cymbeline. On the one hand we have the notion of chastity and married love and on the other we have the grim reality of unrestrained sexual energy. Under no circumstances must the "arrogance piece of flesh" be permitted to penetrate the temple of Imogen’s chastity. Cloten acts out the problematical reality of sexual drives wherever they appear in unsublimated forms. The "arrogance piece of flesh" must literally be killed (symbolically castrated_ before Imogen and Cloten’s body in Posthumus’ clothes can be brought together in the pastoral landscape of Wales. Shakespeare is not merely making use of a conventional Elizabethan version of ambivalence toward women in Cymbeline; he is making use of dramatic conventions to structure an ambivalence which ran deeper in him than in any other dramatist except Marston, who had little of Shakespeare’s plastic ability to transform his obsessions into resilient forms.11 The fool Cloten contains feared wishes, isolates one side of this personal and cultural ambivalence: "Sex is dirty. Man violates woman in the sex act. Therefore he must be punished by castration." As we shall see, this pattern of motives accounts for more than the fate of Cloten in the play.

     The devil takes many shapes. Cloten’s versions of violation sustain no concepts of beauty or dignity, but the same wishes that compel him can ramify into more engaging forms of perversion. In the character of Iachimo Shakespeare offers a professional violator as subtle as Cloten is crude. The difference between them is one of technique rather than intention. Compulsive intention to disintegrate binds them in the play’s movement from negation to affirmation, but Iachimo broadens the circle of perverse possibilities. Since for both of them morality collapses into strategies for sexual possession, we can make our way through Iachimo to the character of Posthumus.

     When we first encounter Iachimo he is talking about Posthumus. His first speech is worth noting for two reasons: he neatly separates Posthumus’ personality from "the catalogue of his endowments … tabled by his side" (I.v.5-6), separates the man from his moral qualities as if these virtues were but so many labels. He emphasizes the sense of sight: "But I could then have look’d on him without the help of admiration …" (I.v.4). Before long we too will look on Posthumus without the help of admiration. Iachimo immediately focuses on the discrepancy between inner and outer, appearance and reality, so predominant in the play. Before Posthumus enters the Roman scene, Iachimo has already articulated his favorite metaphor in suggestive terms:

 

 

    Ay, and the approbation of those that weep this lamentable divorce under her colours are wonderfully to extend him; be it but to fortify her judgement, which else an easy battery might lay flat, for taking a beggar without less quality.

    (I.v.19-23)

The metaphor of war is pregnant with prefigural meaning in both of the national and wager plots. It is Iachimo who will "fortify her judgement" (and our judgment of Imogen) as he attempts to besiege and "lay flat" her sexual integrity. His metaphorical links between love and war feed on conventional associations to prepare us for the play’s later displacement of aggression to military conflict, but they also work the other way, to libidinize heroic conflict. Iachimo’s psyche (the psyche we fantasize when we hear him) is obsessed with sexual fantasy. His preoccupation with "the dearest bodily part" (I.v.154-155) of women orbits his language around romantic imaginings of sexual encounters, providing an Elizabethan audience with vicarious participation in forbidden acts and wishes under the guise of Italianate evil and depravity.

     Iachimo is Cloten in civilized dress. Driven by the logic of his fantasies to indulge erotic wishes, he sees the world’s events only as occasions for the elaboration of tales. Verbal action replaces Cloten’s physical reductive literalizations, so that through him Shakespeare projects sexual desire in a sublimated form. Instead of witnessing attempted actions, we are made to look through his eyes at a distorted and symbolic representation of sex. By projecting sexual fantasies in the character of Iachimo, Shakespeare provides a built-in set of defenses; the fantasies will be verbalized and not acted out, and the convention of Italianizing evil will provide moral distance and condemnation as it simultaneously provides distanced participation. Hence, Iachimo will be permitted to enter the bedchamber at which Cloten vainly knocks and will carry away with him a wealthy of symbolic detail with which to weave the words of his deceptions on his overwilling victim.

     Iachimo’s imagery and metaphors employ the device of auxesis,12 an amplification or hyperbolic enlargement of significance. He ritualizes and mythologizes sexual encounters. When he first faces Imogen, after a greeting of general as well as particular meaning, "Change you, madam," (I.vii.11), he speaks at his characteristic level:



[Aside] All of her that is out of door most rich!
 If she be furnish’d with a mind so rare,
 She is alone th’ Arabian bird; and I
 Have lost the wager. Boldness be my friend!
 Arm me, Audacity, from head to foot,
 Or like the Parthian I shall flying fight;
 Rather, directly fly.		(I.vii.15-21)

One need not remember the psychoanalytic discovery that flying in dreams represents sexual arousal to perceive Iachimo’s erotic elation at merely looking at Imogen. He imagines his whole body erect and powerful, ready to engage in the supreme battle. The Arabian bird indicates to him a nature so purely sublimated that it no longer needs sex to reproduce itself, and therefore becomes his only imaginable obstacle. Mythological references cluster in the scenes of his presence; he calls up the world of Ovidian erotic poetry which the Elizabethans usually indulged under heavy moral trappings. Iachimo’s Ovidian banquets of sense reflect the scoptophilia of a sensibility whose ambivalence toward the sense of touch seeks compensatory pleasure in the eroticization of the sense of sight.

     Later in Act I, scene vii, Iachimo conjures up a vision of Posthumus’ life in Rome calculated simultaneously to activate and to condemn forbidden wishes. His speech is worth quoting in full because the form in which he tells a tale is as important as the tale itself:



            Had I this cheek
To bathe my lips upon: this hand, who touch
(Whose every touch_ would force the feeler’s soul
To th’ oath of loyalty: this object, which
Takes prisoner the wild motion of mine eye,
Firing it only here; should I (damn’d then)
Slaver with lips as common as the stairs
That mount the Capitol: join gripes, with hands
Made hard with hourly falsehood (falsehood, as
With labour): then by-peeping in an eye
Base and illustrious as the smoky light
That’s fed with stinking tallow; it were fit
That all the plagues of hell should at one time
Encounter such revolt.	(I.vii.99-112)

The speech breaks into two parts, first there is the attraction of Imogen, then there is the degraded sex with common whores attributes to Posthumus. The first part fantasizes oral gratification and erotic sight, the second changes "bathe" to "slaver" (with its incorporated pun on "slave" corresponding to the previous use of "prisoner"), substitutes mounting for looking, and makes feeding an affair of disgust entailing all the punishments of hell. Iachimo’s narcissistic identification with each element of the fantasy ("Had I," "Should I") conjures a coherent structure of interpenetrating opposites; for every hallucinatory indulgence there is a more than adequate punishment. Iachimo is a connoisseur of the repressed content of the overcivilized psyche which views direct genital expression as revolting and unconsciously cherishes the wish for oral fusion above all others. Woman’s labor becomes the labor of whores, the hand that caresses becomes associated with erection and the interlocked genitals, genital sex becomes an exhibition surrounded by dirt. The speech is a polymorphous confusion of pregenital sexuality. Iachimo’s ambiguous "damn’d then" can refer either to what came before or what comes after. He allows us to view sexual scenes through the distorting lens of the condemning conscience. In this, and in the contortions of syntax his vision involves, Iachimo presents in concentrated form what Shakespeare presents writ large in a number of Cymbeline’s scenes.

     Iachimo’s power, aside from the autistic gratification to which the unrepressed imagination gives rise (speeches like the above are literary masturbation fantasies), depends largely on the receptivity of his audience. His direct verbal assault succeeds only in shutting Imogen’s ears, and he is forced to resort to the device of the trunk (which, incidentally, Shakespeare makes Imogen volunteer to place in her bedchamber in ironic accommodation of the convention). He succeeds in undermining the less fortified ego of Posthumus when the power to resist the encroachment of unconscious fantasies into consciousness breaks down, and repressed sexuality returns in horrifying forms. Before we turn to Posthumus, however, we should acknowledge the stranger transformation Iachimo seems to undergo in the last act.

     The besieger of Imogen’s temple returns in Act V, scene ii, as a besieger of Britain and is disarmed by the penitent Posthumus in the dumb show of battle. This gesture partially indicates the nature of his role in the play. Iachimo is an aspect or projection of Posthumus’ psyche, that part of him which returns from its repressed status, enters Britain after his banishment, seduces Imogen in fantasy, and thereby gains dominant control of his personality at the expense of the restraints of conscience. This is not to say that Iachimo is not also an autonomous character in the play. Cymbeline, like all works of art, is overdetermined. Characters can function in many ways simultaneously, as allegorizations of ideas or attitudes (as do humor characters), or as fully rounded personalities (as Hamlet appears to an audience), or as both.

     Because Iachimo’s assault on Imogen is distanced by being enacted in words, he remains alive, unlike Cloten, whose unmediated aggression calls for the worst of punishments. In the final scene Iachimo is free to reimagine his obsessive dreams before the eyes of the King. ("I stand on fire. Come to the matter," says Cymbeline [V.v. 168-169].) Since the moral defenses against erotic wishes have by then been reinstituted, his story is longer and more obviously an elaborate fairy tale. "Upon a time …," he begins, and spins a tale laden with vicarious gratification, until he is cut off by Posthumus. Just as Cloten could go on forever were he not literally cut off, Iachimo descends so fully into his imaginative outpouring that the very characters seem to come alive. By isolating his recapitulatory fantasy Shakespeare makes the larger fantasy which is occurring on the stage seem all the more real by contrast. Iachimo’s retelling also functions within the defensive strategy of the final reevaluation, because it allows him to edit the play’s previous action in the direction of diminishing Posthumus’ responsibility. This reediting of the earlier action is the dramatic equivalent of negation.

     For both Cloten and Iachimo chastity exists to be violated. They represent two related obsessions of a Renaissance personality burdened with the idealization and worship of women and seeking to establish a stable relationship between platonic sublimation and crude sexual expression. In the one we see a representation of undeferred sexual drives imagined as a moral void, presocial and uneducable; in the other Shakespeare projects a more complex, socially viable manifestation of erotic conflict, combining displacement of sexual drives to speaking and looking with expressions of negative judgment. In Posthumus we witness a tense and precariously balanced combination of the two. Cloten and Iachimo indicate alternative modes of expression toward which Posthumus’ character tends. By following Posthumus carefully through the play, we can identify the dreamlike logic which underlies its sometimes confusing, oversophisticated surface. The techniques of dreams—displacement, condensation, substitution, multiple symbolism—are also the play’s dominant dramatic techniques.

     The opening scene represents Posthumus’ credentials for nobility of spirit with open-ended ambiguity; phrases of unspecified reference generate curious suggestions of hidden malady. First we have a contrast between Cloten and Posthumus:



He that hath miss’d the princess is a thing
Too bad for bad report: and he that hath her
(I mean, that married her, alack good man,
And therefore banish’d) is a creature such
As, to seek through the regions of the earth
For one his like; there would be something failing
In him that should compare.	(I.i. 16-22)

The "thingness" of Cloten is balanced, not by direct expression of nobility or virtue, but by the tortured expression of incomparability. Posthumus is a "creature" who "hath her," and the immediate qualification, "I mean, that married her," suggests that the marriage remains unconsummated. Words of intimacy and banishment or pain enter the play’s language as if linked by a special bonk. The fourth through seventh lines communicate two contradictory messages: (1) no other man can measure up to Posthumus; (2) another man comparable to Posthumus would have "something failing." Like so much of the play’s verse, the lines shun direct expression in favor of elliptical hinting.

     The Gentleman then extends the ambiguity in a deliberate generalization of the condition described:


                         I do not think
So fair an outward, and such stuff within
Endows a man, but he.	{I.i. 22-24)

The construction of the lines, the way they withhold specific reference until the last moment, marks a recurrent feature of Cymbeline’s verse. The contrast between appearance and reality, "fair outward" and "stuff within," is prefaced by "I do not think," casting a further oblique doubt on Posthumus’ integrity. A few lines later we are told that there is something inarticulable about Posthumus, again in unspecified terms: "I cannot delve him to the root" (I.i.28). Delving to the root is more than an agricultural image, once we remember Elizabethan associations of plants and bodily parts, yet here its erotic overtone serves no contextual purpose. The Gentleman simply means to say that Posthumus’ personality cannot be fully explicated. A few lines before he said:


I do extend him, sir, within himself,
Crush him together, rather than unfold
His measure duly.	(I.i. 25-27)

This may be an unconscious image of erection followed by an unconscious punishment. The accumulation of phrases unanchored in dramatic action tends to activate uncontrolled association in the minds of the audience, associations which may later find justification on the stage. As Robert Rogers has shown, such images can profitably be studied as "microdramas," enactments in detail of the play’s larger unconscious concerns.13 When successful, these microdramas fuse primary-process images (bodily associations) with the play’s secondary process, discursive meaning. In Cymbeline the fusion is incomplete. The above lines activate unconscious images in a way that seems to baffle the conscious mind.

     After these vague suggestions of disproportionate correspondence between inner and outer, Posthumus’ lineage is presented. Sicilius, his father, had his martial power and nobility confirmed in the name "Leonatus," which Posthumus inherits. His two brothers died "with their swords in hand" (I.i 36), indicating that their lives were devoted to the service of the state. Their father, "fond of issue" (I.i. 37)14 died of grief. Posthumus’ mother died as he was born. Deprived of parents and brothers, he finds a protector in the King, who has also lost two sons and a wife. The parallel is too clear to be overlooked. Sicilius and Cymbeline are identified by their pasts. Posthumus’ relation to Cymbeline is that of son to parents, both parents, for Cymbeline "Breeds him, and makes him of his bedchamber" (I.i. 42). It is a remarkable exercise in condensation, for the parallel between Cymbeline and Sicilius creates common parentage for Posthumus and Imogen without the charge of incest accompanying the marriage. In psychological terms, the absence of real parents corresponds to the shaky status of Posthumus’ internal parents, the superego, and this in turn corresponds to the morally weak external father of the play, Cymbeline. Shakespeare takes great pains to restore the father-authorities, Caesar, Jupiter, Cymbeline, to active beneficent power at the end of the play. The restoration of external fathers accompanies the restoration of internal control of conscience in Posthumus.

     Posthumus’ virtue is not directly located within himself; his name and nobility are conferred by his past and by the fact that Imogen has chosen him. Like Antony’s and Timon’s, Posthumus’ self-esteem depends on large doses of external confirmation. Deprived of external confirmation of their identities, all three succumb to regressive forces within.

     In the departure scene (I.ii) Posthumus reveals an inner assent to the forces of separation. His banishment objectifies a distance that is already manifest between him and Imogen, in spite of their exchange of symbolic gifts. His only gesture of physical intimacy is to place a bracelet on her arm. He is self-conscious about his manhood:

     


                     My queen, my mistress:
O lady, weep no more, lest I give cause
To be suspected of more tenderness
Than doth become a man	(I.ii. 23-26)

"Tenderness" and manhood are placed in inverse relation to each other; as one increases the other becomes threatened. Renaissance identities were more sensitive than we are to degrees of social tact in close relationships. Imogen’s tears soften Posthumus, and his response resists their power while admitting their potential for evoking sympathetic resonance in him. Yet in the eyes of the paranoiac King, Posthumus’ tenderness has already far exceeded the limit, making his concern with the judgment of others sharply reflect an inner condition, a fear of physical intimacy. The juxtaposition of "queen" and "mistress" rings odd, since the Queen enters and exists throughout the scene, and she is not lovable.

     Too close an identification of wife and mother can result in violent ambivalence toward sexuality.15 On the hand Posthumus needs to be reprimanded for his haste to depart before the gifts are exchanged, and on the other hand he expresses "loathness to depart" (I.ii. 39) at precisely the same moment. When he gives the bracelet, his words express more than conventional meaning:


	  For my sake wear this,
It is a manacle of love, I’ll place it
Upon this fairest prisoner.	(I.ii. 52-54)

The gift imposes an identity upon the giver as well as the receiver. His metaphor reveals unconscious holding-on too tightly, an excessive dependence. Without her he is nothing, with her he is everything. It is the relationship of child and mother (Imogen’s ring belonged to her mother), not the relationship of mature love, and its roots lie in oral dependence:


And with mine eyes I’ll drink the words you seen,
Though ink be made of gall.	  (I.ii. 31-32)

Drinking with eyes, which is what Iachimo does, for all its conventionality as a metaphor, here expresses the nature of a particular kind of love; it is the expression of an unconscious passivity experienced from an adult point of view. Hence the association of oral gratification and poisoning.

     Posthumus’ words contradict his actions because an unconscious need for total sustenance conflicts with the conscious expression of mutual love. What we witness in the departure scene is the first exposure of the confusion between queen and mistress, mother and wife. It is this confusion which will account, in psychological terms, for Posthumus’ later behavior.

     Before the scene ends, we get another significant instance of Posthumus’ condition. Pisanio reports that Posthumus has been attacked by Cloten and violence only avoided because "my master rather play’d than fought’ (I.ii. 93). Again, Posthumus takes the passive role, restraining his masculinity when threatened. Imogen responds with self-assured control:


I would they were in Afric both together,
Myself by with a needle, that I might prick
The goer-back	    (I.ii. 98-100)

Posthumus will not actively use his sword until the last act, when he disarms Iachimo. Between the departure scene and that moment of self-possessed aggression, Shakespeare explores his complex motives with consistently revealing insight.

     We have seen that Posthumus’ actions in the departure scene indicate an inner prohibition against direct expression of physical intimacy. There is no middle ground between idolatry and Cloten’s phallic aggression. This inner tyranny corresponds to the King’s outer tyranny. Cymbeline too would "pen her up" (I.ii. 84). To Imogen’s contrast of Posthumus and Cloten, "I chose an eagle,/ And did avoid a puttock" (I.ii. 70-71), Cymbeline replies, "Thou took’st a beggar, wouldst have made my throne/ A seat for baseness" (I.ii. 72-73). To keep the throne from contamination Imogen’s purity must be isolated, fortified against the touch of defiling sexuality. With respect to Posthumus, Cymbeline represents the tyranny of the superego which, because sex is considered dirty, would split the psyche in diametric opposites, one part that worships and another that defiles.

     It is precisely of this split that Imogen reminds us at the end of Act I. She tells us that the King’s intervention, which, "like the tyrannous breathing of the north,/Shakes all our buds from growing" (I.iv. 36-37), has prevented three things from being done: (1) Posthumus has not been allowed to give assurances against betrayal of Imogen and "his honor" in Italy; (2) Imogen has not been allowed to charge him with the duty of worship; (3) the sensual expression of love, "that parting kiss," has been denied. The blind authority of the father breaks the delicate balance of love and sensuality, fragments the political world into opposing forces, and this fragmentation mirrors the internal struggle that will break out in Posthumus. Of course, repressed sexuality returns with greater violence. In banishing the alleged "baseness" of Posthumus, Cymbeline allies himself with Cloten and the Queen. Symbolically, he is split into Cloten and the Queen. The play’s extremely complex overdetermination enacts the conflict between sexuality and purity over and over again. Just as Cymbeline’s insistence on Imogen’s purity entails his bonds with the evil pair, Posthumus’ insistence on testing that purity activates his own unconscious wishes.

     Defending the purity of his "fair, virtuous, wise, chaste, constant, qualified and less attemptable" (I.v. 61-62) mistress is not new to Posthumus. The Frenchman in Act I, scene v, tells us that he has done it before, "upon importance of so slight and trivial a nature" (I.v. 42-43). The effective cause of the arbitrement of swords" (I.v. 50-51) remains unsettled; Posthumus tells us both that "my quarrel was not altogether slight" (I.v. 48-49) and that his judgment is "mended" (I.v. 47). Immediately after, his judgment is challenged by Iachimo, his alter ego ("we are familiar at first," says Posthumus [I.v. 105-106]). Iachimo says, "but I make my wager rather against your confidence than her reputation" (I.v. 114-115). After insisting on "convenants" (I.v. 148) with the italiante fiend, Posthumus embraces these conditions more fully than he embraced Imogen:

I embraces these conditions, let us have articles betwixt us. Only, thus far you shall answer: if you make your voyage upon her, and give me directly to understand you have prevail’d, I am no further your enemy; she is not worth our debate. If she remain unseduc’d … you shall answer me with your sword.

(I.v. 161-169)

Other men are his enemies only so long as she remains chaste; they cease to be his enemies of Imogen is seduced. It is quite clear that Posthumus is not defending Imogen. He is testing an idea upon which he is dependent for his own identity. The idea is that women, as the embodiment of chastity, transcend sexual impulses. "Where they love," said Freud of maternally fixated men, "they do not desire and where they desire they cannot love."16 Once women are "voyaged upon," the debate ends; there is nothing left to fight for. Phallic aggression, answering with swords, exhausts its value and uses in defense of the idea, which is to say that the polarity of sublimated sexuality manifest in conflict and the maintenance of the idea of chastity is self-perpetuating. The instability of this psychological configuration exposes itself by its repeated need to be tested. When the test fails, the whole configuration collapses; the "stuff within" breaks its chains, violent ambivalence becomes unconscious. The idea of desexualized purity has a vested interest in war.

     The wager is a conventionalized form of altruistic surrender.17 Iachimo will enact Posthumus’ repressed wishes, and the consequences of his enactment will be embraced by Posthumus. As usual in such carefully stated mental bargains, the real reciprocity is unconscious. The covenant is the occasion for the release of unconscious wishes and the anxiety which infuses the possibility of their gratification.

     The sequence of scenes from Act I, scene vii, to Act II, scene iv, is, with the exception of the final tour de force, the most sharply focused pattern of action in the play. Iachimo and Cloten alternate in attempts to penetrate Imogen’s temple, with the end of the sequence being Posthumus’ hysterical diatribe against women. As Cloten grows more absurd, Iachimo grows more successful. After this sequence Iachimo and Posthumus will be absent from the stage until Act V. As in The Winter’s Tale, we are led to a point of maximum conflict at which our detachment threatens to fail, and the energy gathered in the form of anxiety is then free to be recoordinated in a long pastoral sequence.

     Shakespeare frames Act II, scene ii, by references in time, isolating it from the previous and subsequent action in a strategy of demarcation which serves to keep its symbolic contents controlled while permitting intensified verbal expression of Iachimo’s stylized violations. Psychologically, every detail contributes to the fabric of highly defended erotic enactment. As Iachimo activates sexual fantasies, mythological allusion distances them; as he idealizes and depersonalizes his encounter with dazzling chastity, we participate vicariously in a ritualized symbolic rape. The entire encounter is not only distanced into words, but it becomes equivalent to the fabled reality of Imogen’s book, a "story" the elements of which Iachimo reports as he records them.

     Imogen’s concern for external detail—she asks the time, marks her place in Ovid, requests that the taper remain, sets a time to be awakened, prays for divine protection—attunes us ironically to expect some threat to this careful preparation. Immediately after her prayer, we enter the timeless world of symbolic eroticism, the spell broken only by Iachimo’s exist into the world of time ("One, two, three: time, time!" he says [II.ii. 51]). Iachimo "comes from the trunk" into the chamber, in what, from a psychoanalytic viewpoint, is a clear representation, The trunk itself is too obvious a feminine symbol to need comment, and Imogen’s bedchamber, given the play’s frequent associations of contained or fortified spaces with taboo feminine parts, can be seen as a symbol of her body and its secret places. Iachimo’s entrance thus represents an overdetermined act of penetration. Once inside, he turns to formalized description of erotic detail colored by his scoptophilic interest. Twice he recalls mythological rapes:


	  Our Tarquin thus
Did softly press the rushes, ere he waken’d
The chastity he wounded.	  (II.ii. 12-14)

	  She hath been reading late,
The tale of Tereus, here the leaf’s turn’d down
Where Philomel gave up.	  (II.ii. 44-46)

These allusions to sadistic primal scenes, however, define only one level of the scene’s sexual engagement. Iachimo’s sublimated presentation of Imogen’s peerless body weighs idealized anal and visual excitement as heavily as the genital penetration his entry symbolizes.


	That I might touch!
But kiss, one kiss! Rubies unparagon’d,
Perfumes the chamber thus: the flame o’ th’ taper
Bows toward her, and would under-peep her lids,
To see th’ enclosed lights, now canopied
Under these windows, white and azure lac’d
With blue of heaven’s own tinct. (II.ii. 16-23)

Moving from taboo touch to visual concentration characterizes Imogen’s forbidden power as readily as it reemphasizes Iachimo’s fixations. Imogen’s perfumed breath and the intensity of response her veiled eyes evoke extend the range of Iachimo’s vicarious gratification to include pregenital eroticism. Imogen becomes a cosmic image, magnified to proportions that shrink the participant by comparison. The taper displaces Iachimo’s own excitement and visual response. We might almost call the description a sexual act performed by visual incorporation.

     A few lines later Iachimo’s fantasy marks the deepest level of oral gratification, the detail which will trigger Posthumus’ hysteria:


		On her left breast
A mole cinque-spotted; like the crimson drops
I’ th’ bottom of a cowslip. Here’s a voucher,
Stronger than ever law could make; this secret
Will force him think I have pick’d the lock, and ta’en
The treasure of her honour.		(II.ii. 37-42)

The visually intense simile of the "crimson drops I’ th’ bottom of a cowslip," like Ariel’s "in a cowslip’s bell I lie" (Tempest V.i. 89), evokes a feeling of repose.18 That this detail is associated with the breast and with the "pick’d lock" of sexual violation prepares us for the unconscious confusion of maternal and genital sexuality, with its incestuous potential, which will incite Posthumus’ masochistic rage. The bedroom scene thus ritualizes the unconscious orientation repressed unstably in Posthumus, the view that adult sexuality inherently transgresses the law of the father because its object, purified into idealized chastity, promises the gratification attainable only from a mother.

     In Act II, scene iv, Posthumus begins by expressing his passive relation to the King and ends in an ambivalent relation to action. To Philario’s question, "What means do you make to him?" he replies,


Not any; but abide the change of time,
Quake in the present winter’s state, and wish
That warmer days would come: in these fear’d hopes,
I barely gratify your love; they failing,
I must die much your debtor,		(II.iv.4-8)

Only the Queen and Cymbeline share his faith in time’s curative powers (cf. II.iii. 42-45), making his position an ironic defense of passive willfulness. The oxymoronic "fear’d hopes" articulates a more complex motivation. The fear of the father, who is always associated in the first part of the play with barren winter, and the hope to be possessed by and possess the mother, who is warmth and fertility, result in stasis. Posthumus’ feared hopes cancel active defiance as surely as they deny satisfaction of his wishes. A few lines later his metaphor of rooted exposure finds implicit contrast in his own praise of British "discipline" (II.iv.23) in defiance of Ceasar’s demand for subordination. Before Iachimo, returned from Britain, enters the scene, we have registered both Posthumus’ ambivalence toward authority and his unconsciousness of that ambivalence.

     Iachimo returns, but, ironically, the first erotic words come from Posthumus:


The swiftest harts have posted you by land;
And winds of all the corners kiss’d your sails,
To make your vessel nimble.	(II.iv. 27-29)

Posthumous’ consciousness is attuned to vicarious participation. Before succumbing to the evidence, however, he restates the terms of the contract. Unlike Faustus, he does not need to be reminded of his bargains;


	If you can make’t apparent
That you have tasted her in bed, my hand
And rings is yours. If not, the foul opinion
You had of her pure honour gains, or loses,
Your sword, or mine, or masterless leave both
To who shall find them. 	(II.iv.56-61)

Unconsciousness, sex for Posthumus, as for so many Elizabethan and Jacobean characters and poetic personae, is oral gratification. In the economy of his psyche phallic action becomes relevant only insofar as "tasting in bed" does not occur. He defends the thought of "her pure honor" against "foul opinion" because otherwise the knowledge that sex is genital would stand up against the forces of repression, and the illusion of purity would be lost. In Posthumus’ psyche the illusion of purity provides a strong counter-cathexis against the fact of genital sex, and this counter-cathexis enables the unconscious wish that sex be oral (infantile) to find metaphoric expression. This is why external conflict will be avoided if Iachimo can "make’t apparent" that he has "tasted her in bed." A wish will have unconsciously been gratified, the wish to return to the oral stage prior to Oedipal conflict. Yet the very gratification is expensive to psychic integrity, because the confusion in his mind between oral and genital sexuality fails as a defense against Oedipal fears. Once the unconscious wish is granted to the receptive Posthumus, a violent conflict between the wish for purity and the wish for gratification erupts. Why? Because then the repressed truth that sex is genital forces its way into consciousness, and his rage is turned "against himself" (II.iv.152).

     The process by which Iachimo "induces" (cf.II.iv.63) Posthumus to believe Imogen seduced begins with erotic descriptions of her chamber: that tapestry depicting the story of Antony and Cleopatra, "the chimney-piece,/Chaste Dian, bathing," "Her andirons" and "winking Cupids," the whole array of erotic ornamentation, which, like the Ovid at her bedside, rehearses the sexual life denied in reality but indulged in fantasy. Posthumus resists these suggestions easily; even the display of the bracelet is temporarily resisted at the rational advice of Philario, although we first have an extremely significant expression of its unconscious significance:


It is a basilisk unto mine eye,
Kills me to look on’t. (II.iv.107-108)

The bracelet betrays the gift’s obligations because symbolically it presents the sight of the female genitals to Posthumus. The very bracelet he wished would be a "manacle" of chastity returns as an expression of sexuality. The sight of the female genitals "kills" because it is unconsciously interpreted as a castration of the male member. Women are men without penises: this is the unconscious message.19

     Still, Posthumus is able to repress even this sight for a moment; he demands a "corporal sign" (II.ii.119), but immediately succumbs at the mention of Jupiter:


Iach. By Jupiter, I had it from her arm.
Post. Hark you, he swears: by Jupiter he swears.
   ‘Tis true, nay, keep the ring, ‘tis true … (II.iv.121-123)

Why should the mere mention of Jupiter cancel his ability to resist? Is it not because he wants to believe that "he hath enjoy’d her" (II.iv.126) and finds in Jupiter an ultimate authority for his deception? His own repressed libido impresses the superego into its service, ignoring the rational persuasion of Phlario. In a complete reversal, the most traumatic in a play full of reversals, he now demands his own cuckolding, and Iachimo grants his most cherished unconscious wish:


      Iach.				If you seek
For further satisfying, under her breast
(Worthy her pressing) lies a mole, right proud
Of that most delicate lodging. By my life,
I kiss’d it, and it gave me present hunger
To feed again, though full. You do remember
This stain upon her?
       Post.				Ay, and it doth confirm
Another stain, as big as hell can hold,
Were there no more but it.		(II.iv.133-141)

The gratification in fantasy of the oral wish to feed at the breast entails the recognition of the fact of genital sex: "it doth confirm another stain" the thought of which is absolutely revolting and leads to an image of violence. "O, that I had her here, to tear her limbmeal!" (II.iv.147). The thought of that other stain and the horror of torn limbs are in the unconscious one and the same, the irrational fear that sex involves castration. This is the fear underlying Posthumus’ insistent defense of chastity, his ambivalent relation to authority, and his unconscious confusion of wife and mother.

     Posthumus’ soliloquy at the end of Act II brings together all the strands of the conflict we have been discussing. In denouncing women, he attempts to negate his own sexual drives, to preserve the shreds of honor in the face of the facts of his own nature. He begins with a wish for self-sufficiency and an attempt to absolve his father:


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.		(II.iv.153-157)

"Venerable" authority and sexual intercourse are irreconcilably opposed in his mind. Posthumus always insists on absolute authorization for his actions and thoughts, a determination which accords well with the play’s total moral distinctions, but which forbids psychic compromises. The sexual father must be made anonymous, and the mother appears in the image of Diana, chaste huntress, woman with phallic power:


				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.			(II.iv.157-160)

Mother and wife are identified in purity, sexual taboo extending from one to the other. Birth and biological process diverge in the coin image in an attempt to deny genital reality.20

     Then Posthumus reverses himself, claiming revenge for having been denied "lawful pleasures":


		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.		(II.iv.160-165)

In this confluence of overdetermined images he manages first to project the source of restraint onto Imogen, and then to call up the very image which repels him. Earlier Imogen said:


		When he was here
He did incline to sadness, and oft-times
Not know why.		(I.iv.61-63)

In other words, the sexual repression imposed by his own tyrannical conscience had already displayed its existence in unaccountable depressions. This view is consistent with the pattern of his actions. In his present hysteria Posthumus edits the past to externalize responsibility. The "pudency so rosy," the "sweet view" of which now enters his imagination, expresses opposites simultaneously; it is the blush of chastity and an image of sexual arousal. He is unconsciously entertaining the Iachimo part of himself which derives erotic pleasure in looking. And "old Saturn" projects an image of the father as lecher, in whose guise the looking can be permitted to enter consciousness. Next we get a vision of Iachimo as a boar, and sex becomes the primal scene, nothing but violence and violation:


		O, all the devils!
This yellow Iachimo, in an hour was’t 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. (II.iv.165-171)

Yellow was the color of disease and jealous;21 "Full-acorned" means full-testicled, and the word "German" may be a pun on "germen," the male seed.22 The image of the boar is the greatest possible contrast to Iachimo’s gorgeous description in the bedroom scene. It takes Posthumus two lines to say one word, "pudenda." Again we have emphasis on looking.

     In the following lines another reversal occurs, as Posthumus projects the thought of hated sexuality onto women:


		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,
That woman’s: flattering, hers; deceiving, hers:
Lust, and rank thoughts, hers, hers: revenges, hers …
			(II.iv.171-176)

In his search for the "woman’s part" we have a clear example of affirmation by denial. By embodying an anthology of evils in women, Posthumus articulates his extensive terror at the possibility of female sexuality, his diseased relationship to genitality. The "part" against which he rages is exactly the part that Imogen has not played. Posthumus is trying to exorcise the image of the female genitals in himself ("the woman’s part in me"). The pun, unconscious as it is, reveals the root of his disgust, as he simultaneously expresses and defends himself against his castration anxieties. The uneven, distracted movement of the verse corresponds to its ambivalent content.23

     The speech ends with a final note of ambivalence over whether to write or not to write. After deciding to "write against them" (II.iv.183), he decides that prayer, submission to a higher will, is the better alternative. Writing satire, an active way of coping with forbidden wishes through sublimated aggression and sadism, is judged inferior to dependence on God’s authority. God will send devils to plague the sinners. In psychological terms, Posthumus’ conflict centers ultimately on his relation to father-authority. The father demands the punishment of castration as the price of sexual desire. The fear of losing the vital organ in the sex act is converted into the fear of genital sex itself and this fear is then located wholly in woman. The obverse of chastity is castration fear, and castration fear is fear of the tyrannical father who possesses the mother (wife) for himself. In the test of Imogen, Posthumus ends up confronted for himself. In the test of Imogen, Posthumus ends up confronted with the unresolved Oedipal fears which the defense of purity was designed to preserve in a state of repression. We have observed his constant need to feel that ultimate authorities join the side of his wishes. But the wish to possess Imogen sexually conflicts with the dictates of conscience, in spite of Posthumus’ attempt to claim the authority of Jupiter, and the conflict within him will hereafter center on the mollification of father-authorities at the expense of erotic gratification. It is no accident that the next scene begins with the line, "Now, say, what would Augustus Caesar with us?"

     In Act III Shakespeare inaugurates the redeeming parts of the play’s decomposed world. But Cymbeline’s solutions for its psychological conflicts are intertwined with the re-expression of the conflicts. The audience finds itself entangled in the same paranoiac web which grips Cymbeline. Illusions in the play merge with illusions of the play. Our powers of reality-testing strain to sort the multiplications of familial roles without relinquishing emotional participation, so that, as R. J. Kaufmann says, "The exact distribution invited for our sympathies is maddeningly difficult to establish with critical concision."24 Before Posthumus reappears in Act V, scene I, the conflicts of the first two acts are transposed, with undisclosed purpose, into the new dimensions of politics and pastoral display. The effect of this transposition is to disperse our energies among discrete elements of the conflicts we have already witnessed. Characters come to represent isolated aspects of the play’s central preoccupation with the consequences of ambivalent love, or they present to us examples of the rooted parental identifications which serve to protect against that ambivalence.

     "Paranoia decomposes just as hysteria condenses," Freud wrote. "Or rather, paranoia resolves once more into their elements the products of the condensations and identifications which are effected in the unconscious."25 As Otto Rank demonstrated, family romance plots are the mythological and literary counterparts of paranoiac fantasies.26 The ambivalent attitude toward women finds expression in the Queen-Imogen opposition, and the faltering superego manifests itself in the multiplication of father-figures. Belarius, Cymbeline, Caesar, and Jupiter stage aspects of the father’s familial, national, international, and supernatural power, or lack of it. Until the last act the antagonism of fathers coincides with the power of anonymous evil mother, the "false" mother of the family romance. In the end she and her son becomes the scapegoats for everything divisive in the world.

     The Queen may be an attenuated version of Volumnia, but this should not blind us to the psychological implications of her presence in the play. The power attributed to her on the level of fantasy only flickers into dramatic reality, but she bears a weight of responsibility larger than her manifest role. Every deviation from patriarchal hierarchy is finally attributed to the Queen or to her instrument Cloten. In the Queen Shakespeare projects the fears associated with the sexual fantasies that emerge in Posthumus: fear of poison, fear the sexual fantasies the emerge in Posthumus: fear of poison, fear of castration, or, more generally, fear of being rendered impotent before the demands of external reality.27 As Coriolanus said,


Not of a woman’s tenderness to be,
Requires nor child nor woman’s face to see.
			(V.iii.129-130)

Cymbeline attributes immense determining influence to this figure of the "bad" mother, although her influence remains an underlying psychological assumption and is not dramatically validated by the audience’s experience of the play. Her unrealized role makes the control attributed to her seem to diminish the stature of those within her web. Nevertheless, as Freud realized, what is apparently insignificant can mask what is latently most important. Once we see that the Queen projects one side of the ambivalence duplicated in Posthumus, the underlying link between Posthumus’ actual response to Imogen’s "betrayal" and the national plot becomes more available to analysis.

     The Queen and Cloten defend Britain as an enisled and fortified ego. The challenge to Caesar can be seen as a displacement of the conflict projected in Posthumus. The wish for inner purity and autonomy imagined on a national scale directs aggressive wishes outside the sacred circle of familiar and traditional identities. The keynote of the Queen’s famous description of Britain "As Neptune’s park, ribb’d and pal’d in/With rocks unscaleable and roaring waters" (III.i.20-21) is natural power and its past ability to beat Caesar twice and make "Britons strut with courage" (III.i.34). Cloten is the only character imagined as strutting, so that even the description of British bravery bears his mark. Britain becomes in her fantasy a hortus exclusus protected by engulfing forces, "sands that will not bear you enemies’ boats,/But suck them up to th’ topmast" (III.i.22-23) and seas that crack ships "like egg-shells" (III.i.29). These images of an overwhelming mother surrounding the nation correspond to the Queen’s own wished-for role in the play. The island is not (pave G. Wilson Knight) that envisioned by Gaunt in Richard II ("This nurse, this teeming womb of royal kings" [II.i.51]), but the locus of self-engrossed exclusivity, a defensive place, not a creative one. In both the national plot and the wager a confusion of enemies within with enemies without determines the defensive position. Aggression seeks the wrong object, since what is pure and what is defiled are one and the same. Neptune’s park exists only in the imagination; the play’s reality has substituted the Queen and Cloten for the ordered generativity of Britain and its heroic, outer-directed defense.

     Psychologically, the Queen and Cloten have usurped the defining qualities of British nobility, and until Act III, scene I, is half-over Cymbeline manages only two lines, one of which is immediately disobeyed by Cloten.28 When he does speak, he acknowledges his loyalty to a lineage which antedates Caesar’s conquests but also remembers that Caesar honored him as a youth. There is none of Cloten’s frenetic defiance in his speeches, but neither is there any distrust of Cloten and the Queen. In his passivity he performs the same kind of altruistic surrender we observed in Posthumus. The Queen and Cloten, whose power renders the King impotent to determine British destiny, speak and act for him and with his reiterated assent. Without them he sags in perplexity:


Now for the counsel of my son and queen,
I am amaz’d with matter.	(IV.iii.27-28)

The challenge to Caesar is quite clearly a pretext for structuring ambivalence, but an overdetermined one. It places us in the schizoid position of simultaneously recognizing mutually exclusive assumptions without having sufficient ground for choosing a stable emotional relation to those assumption. On the one hand the challenge asserts the "natural" autonomy of British tradition and its renewed ability to ward off externalized sources of limitation. As Cymbeline says,


		Say then to Ceasar,
Our ancestor was that Mulmutuius which
Ordain’d our laws, whose use the sword of Caesar
Hath too much mangled; whose repair, and franchise,
Shall (by the power we hold) be our good deed,
Though Rome be therefore angry.	(III.i.55-60)

In this conception Caesar becomes a mutilating father, Cymbeline a son loyal to his ancestral heritage, ready to translate law into action even at the expense of angering the usurping father. But the danger to British integrity is standing before his eyes and our, unrepudiated by him. Even a Jacobean audience with prior conviction of national greatness could not fail to see it. Cymbeline rages at Imogen, but seems more than a little reluctant to damage Caesar’s stature:


They Caesar knighted me; my youth I spent
Much under him; of him I gather’s honour,
Which he to seek of me again, perforce,
Behoves me keep at utterance. (III.i.71-74)

The second assumption is this; Britain achieved a noble identity by submission to the father Caesar; its integrity depends on acting in accordance with the father’s example, and this involves defiance of the father.29 The same father who conquered the warlike people authenticated Cymbeline’s nobility. Here Cymbeline is represented as a son who reaped the benefits of service to a generous father, a relationship duplicated in Posthumus’ brothers’ and Cymbeline’s own sons’ relation to authority. Shakespeare is not merely structuring ambivalence toward the father in the national plot, he is ambivalent toward the very structuring process he has set in motion, and this leaves the audience in a position of uneasy ambiguity, especially since Caesar never appears, and his representative, Caius Lucius, will later become a "good" father to Imogen. The situation here is similar to that in Coriolanus, in which the hero must repudiate his mother in order to be faithful to her past influence. In psychological terms, it is a double bind: we are asked to assent to contradictory emotional demands where no adequate choice is possible.

     The only way out of a double bind, if it is not to end in tragic contradiction, is to introduce a rescuing force or person. In Cymbeline we have Belarius and Cymebline’s lost sons and, beyond them, the dues ex machina. But before we are transplanted to the idealized world of Wales another instance of British decomposition makes its way from Rome.

     Posthumus instructs Pisanio to murder Imogen. Projected hatred of the sexual woman controls his response to his primal-scene fears; Imogen, no longer a goddess to be worshipped, becomes an object to be torn. (Pisanio says she bears herself in his absence "More goddess-like than wife-like" [III.ii.8].) The letter Posthumus sends Imogen re-expresses the nature of his confusion:

Justice, and your father’s wrath (should he take me in his dominion) could not be so cruel to me, as you (O the dearest of creatures) would even renew me with your eyes. (III.ii.40-43)

The sentence is one cumulative ambiguity, an acrobatics of evasion. Before the first parenthetical remark, we are set wondering what justice has to do with Cymbeline’s wrath; in any case, Posthumus thinks of the father’s wrath before Imogen. The first parenthesis turns on the ambiguity of "take me." Does it mean "take me (back) into" or "capture me"? Before we reach the second parenthesis, it seems as if Posthumus is comparing Cymbeline’s wrath to Imogen’s cruelty, which makes the second parenthesis either a bad pun on "dearest" (most expensive_ or a contradiction. The last phrase refocuses on ocular identification, which defines one aspect of Posthumus’ ambivalent love. His words are put into Imogen’s mouth (a literalization of projection, but this time the projection is Shakespeare’s): she voices his confusion. In more conventional terms, Imogen has become for Posthumus the objectification of inconstancy, which his guilt insists on murdering. The "stuff within" has become the driving force in the outer world.

     The attempt to deny the existence of the sexual woman entails, paradoxically, the symbolic enactment of the crime Posthumus fears. Since genital sex is mutilation, Imogen must be mutilated. Again, denial generates the thing denied. Two scenes later Imogen articulates her willingness to die in speeches shot through with images of separation anxiety, sexual acts, castration, and self-sacrifice. For example:



	Speak, man, thy tongue
May take off some extremity, which to read
Would be even mortal to me. (III.iv.16-18)

I must be ripp’d:--to pieces with me! (53)

		Come, here’s my heart,
(Something’s afore’t,--soft, soft! We’ll no defence)
Obedient as the scabbard.		(78-80)

		… and I grieve myself
To think, when thou shalt be disedg’d by her
That now thou tirest on …		(93-95)

The lamb entreats the butcher. (97)

If we have any doubt about the sadistic nature of the fantasized act, Posthumus’ letter puts us straight:

Thy mistress, Pisanio, hath played the strumpet in my bed: the testimonies whereof lie bleeding in me. (21-23)

The play juggles pronouns and family roles in accordance with the unconscious wishes of the moment. Here Imogen becomes "they mistress" but the bed remains "mine." The boundaries between characters fluctuate in the interpenetration of subject and object; we are taken into the play’s oral confusion, and only a strict distribution of roles, a precategorized map of reality, restores the distinction of "mine" and "thine." Even before this scene, the most anxiety-ridden in the play, Shakespeare has begun to erect defenses against this gruesome primal scene.

     The world of Wales literally and psychologically distances the conflicts in the court and displays with self-conscious didacticism the moral and psychological alternatives to the play’s potentially tragic deviations. An all-male world presided over by a self-appointed surrogate for the gullible and paranoiac King, Wales is the vehicle for the retrieval of anchored defenses against the Queen-dominated subversion of British harmony. Within the structured life of cyclical pieties Shakespeare reenacts the play’s controlling tensions, in a demonstration of familial identities designed to counter the threats Cloten and Posthumus in his deranged state represent. The pastoral world is a symbolic context, protected from the victory of desublimated sexuality by conventional agreement, a place where problematic experience is granted controlled release in order to be mastered and ordered. Isolation, apparent self-sufficiency, ritualized and idealized action, exemplary performance, hierarchic stability—all contribute to this world’s symbolic reality. A reigning myth of this setting is that sublimation of basic drives can achieve an adequate and guiltless substitute for their original aims; but, as we shall see, Shakespearean sophistication expands this simplistic notion. In this arcadia there is a great deal of residual guilt and anxiety as well as the settled pattern of innocent identifications.

     For Bealrius, the world of banishment has become a moral dictionary advertising its difference from the court. In contrast to the court’s phallic pride, his maternal environment engenders the daily adoration consequent on complete introjection of the "good" parents:30


			The gates of monarchs
Are arch’d so high that giants may jet through
And keep their impious turbans on, without
Good morrow to the sun. Hail, thou fair heaven!
We house I’ th’ rock, yet use thee not so hardly
As prouder livers do.		(III.iii.4-9)>

The maternal symbols of the rock and the cave indicate the psychological locus of his life of basic sufficiencies. As Charles K. Hofling has noticed, the movement to Wales is a regression in the ice of the ego.31 Life in Wales, as Belarius describes it, consists of an elaborate generalized insistence that it is not like the world that rejected him. The court’s phallic impudence is explicitly in revolt against religious order. Bealrius’ fantasy determines his images, which correspond to the symbolic significance of the reality we have seen on the stage.

     Belarius’ piety takes the anal form of a detailed, depersonalized revenge, by perfect behavior, on his banisher Cymbeline. Like a child whose attempts to please his father receive inexplicable rebuff, Blearius’ response to rejection amplifies courtliness into unconscious parody, so that loyalty itself becomes a devious act of aggression against the unfaithful father. The court is linked to undeserved moral reprimand, and Belarius directs at it a full range of conventional accusations:


		O, this life
Is nobler than attending for a check:
Richer than doing nothing for a robe,
Prouder than rustling in unpaid-for silk:
Such gain the cap of him that makes him fine,
Yet keeps his book uncross’d: no life to ours.
			(III.iii.21-26)

The last metaphor of the tailor who ornaments others while neglecting business details distills Belarius’ stiff sense of puritanical responsibility. His rhythms punctuate the egotism of opposition, but keep him bound in tightly; as soon as he begins to run on (in line 25) the phrase "no life to ours" puts a stop to this indulgence. Belarius is a moral masturbator. In him Shakespeare projects a rigidly moralistic, legalistic reaction formation against courtly unreliability, a salesman, his urgent insistence on the value of what he advertises evokes skepticism rather than identification. As the Elizabethan proverb says, "He praises who wishes to sell."

     Belarius’ rigidity argues an underlying guilt; and filial guilt in a clearly Oedipal configuration shows though his actions in the past and his uneasy response to events in Wales. In the past, Belarius, loved by Cymbeline for his military service, was "as a tree/Whose boughs did bend with fruit" (III.iii.60-61). The image of the tree laden with fruit whose fertility is truncated by a wrathful father recalls Imogen’s lines at I.iv.35-37 and will recur in a more gratifying form in the last scene. Psychoanalytically, Belarius imagines a social relationship that reproduces the child’s pre-Oedipal possession of and identification with the mother, before the son’s rivalry with the father interrupted this primary relatedness. The child’s represented anonymously as "two villains, whose false oaths prevail’d/Before my perfect honour," and who "swore to Cymbeline/I was confederate with the Romans" (III.iii.66-68). Following this false report (the only implication in the play of rivalry with Rome twenty years ago), Belarius is deprived of his "mellow hangings" of symbolic castration and of removal from the social equivalent of maternal presence. As he sketches his response twenty years later the intention of symbolically castrating the father in return by depriving him of his lineage (an intention linking him with the Queen; cf. III.v.65-66) emerges clearly:


O Cymbeline, heaven and my conscience knows
Thou didst unjustly banish me: whereon,
At three and two years old, I stole these babes,
Thinking to bar thee of succession as
Thou refts me of my lands.	(III.iii.99-103)

The opening scene points up the manifest absurdity of this strategy (I.i.55-67), and conscious absurdity defends against unconscious significance, Belarius stole the sons not merely to vindicate his martial honor, which was ostensibly at stake, but to reciprocate the loss of his "lands," symbolically the mother. This detail, which seems unnecessary in the speech’s manifest content, supports the Oedipal interpretation. The story of Belarius’ banishment thus repeats the pattern of family romance motives operating in Posthumus’ banishment. In both instances manifest purity of intention incurs an irrational father’s wrath, and in both instances symbolic possession of maternal fullness is at issue. In Wales Belarius effectively replaces the son’s parents, as Cymbeline did for Posthumus. Guilt is projected onto the King who is controlled by the dominating woman split off from her nourishing and sustaining counterpart. The difference is in the distancing of the first banishment; historically prior, it is psychologically tamed by time, enacted in words only.

     The guilt, however, returns in Belarius’ jittery reaction to Cloten’s unannounced entry; beneath his moralisms the fear of paternal retribution shapes his stance:


		I fear some ambush:
I saw him not these many years, and yet
I know ‘tis he: we are held as outlaws: hence!
			(IV.ii.65-67)

After Cloten’s death, Belarius is sure that "We are all undone" (IV.ii.123) and that "this body hath a tail/More perilous than the head" (IV.ii.144-145). His instructions to bury Cloten with the "reverence" (IV.ii.247) due a queen’s son bespeak the defensive nature of his piety, as if formal adherence to hierarchic value could automatically make reparation for his sense of transgression. Shakespeare is acutely aware in Cymbeline of the compensatory aspect of formalized adherence to social rules. When the sounds of approaching armies surround their cave, Belarius counsels retreat to maternal protection. On one level, he functions as a choral commentator and foil to the sons’ "innate" nobility, but as an overdetermined projection of paternal filial attitudes, the fear and guilt he embodies reinforce the play’s pervasive emphasis on the ambiguous nature of family relationships.

     Belarius’ anxiety localizes the fear of punishment Cloten’s death might generate and also enables Shakespeare to use his moral armor in a positive way. He can recognize Imogen as a pure "boy," an idealized perfection, visually distanced.


		Behold divineness
No elder than a boy!	(III.vii.16-17)

In psychoanalytic terms, Shakespeare presents us with a pattern of paranoia reversed. In relation to Imogen Belarius displays none of the anxiety of this response to approaching armies. Instead, the anal rigidity of his moralisms serves as a protection against the feared aspect of the mother, transforms her into a worshiped youth, the prototype of whom is the phallic mother of early infancy. Shakespeare makes tendering one’s debts to heaven the psychological prerequisite for the ability to be tender to golden lads and girls.

     In Wales ritualized action and the anxiety it exists to tame and structure coexist in uneven mixtures. Daily life is governed by earned distribution of domestic roles:


You, Polydore, have prov’d best woodman, and
Are master of the feast; Cadwal and I
Will play the cook and servant … (III.vii.1-3)

This diligent role-playing informs their lives in reverence to a matrix of limited social relationships. As Imogen later says, "the breach of custom is the breach of all" (IV.ii.10-11). The hunt ritualizes aggression, and homage to a lost ideal mother-substitute fills out their daily ceremonial:


			Euriphile,
Thou wast their nurse, they took thee for their mother,
And every day do honour to her grave. (III.iii.103-105)

Custom here compromises the sublimation into idealized forms of the child’s cyclical reality. On one level, the collocation of exemplary poses that Wales presents revives the oral world of childhood, based as it is on parental guidance and what Erikson calls basic trust. The hunt, the feast, and the prayers to Euriphile constitute its three central facts. When Imogen enters famished, she finds food and recognition of her divinity. It is a "sweeter" (III.iii.30) world, as opposed to the "sharper" (III.iii.31) world of courtly experience.

     Maternally oriented ordering of reality under the watchful eye of conscience (what G. Wilson Knight calls "this nature-fed existence"32) neatly escapes paranoiac divisiveness and shields Cymbeline’s sons from all adult ambivalence. In Wales competitive reality consists of hunting tomorrow’s feast and deciding who shall play master, cook and servant. It doesn’t take a psychologist to see how radically reductive this reinvestment of masculine energies is. But Shakespeare will not reject the alternative of pastoral retreat, since it provides a hypothetical context,33 however restricting, for mastering threats of sexual violation. Instead, he expands this context to include the active urge of Cymbeline’s sons toward experience beyond their "pinching cave" (III.iii.38).

     Identification with the good mother inhabits more active forms of self-identification. The "quiet life" (III.iii.30) feels like "A cell of ignorance, traveling a-bed,/A prison, or a debtor that not dares/To stride a limit" (III.iii.33-35). The prison and debtor metaphors reverse the honorific connotations of Belarius’ conception, implying that his regressive ideas are themselves a form of punishment. The sons see their retreat as an accepted slavery:


		… our cage
We make a quire, as doth the prison’d bird,
And sing our bondage freely. (III.iii.42-44)

They want to seize their own lives in heroic assertion, rather than merely use their situation as a way of paying "pious debts to heaven" (III.iii.73). The overbearing superego which dictates the law of the talion to Belarius and keeps him submissive to heaven achieves a more resilient expression in their combination of idealized response to Imogen and guiltless disregard of restricting laws (cf.IV.ii.124-129).

     Pastoral retreat contradicts warlike action, but, as in dreams, the contradictory forms of action coincide: both reverence for their current life and the desire "to stride a limit" cohabit Wales. Shakespeare has it both ways; the sons exhibit automatic, asexual love for Imogen, include her in their "journal" (IV.ii.10) life, and associate her in "death" with their lost mother (IV.ii.190). Their unconscious recognition of familial bonds affirms defenses against the play’s incestuous anxieties. In disguise, Imogen is assigned the desexualized role of "housewife" (IV.ii.45) and her Platonic divinity is matched by her domestic skill (IV.ii.48-51). In other words, combining sacred and profane, she becomes in fantasy everything the child wishes for in a mother, utter purity in an oral provider. The phallic or androgynous woman worshiped by Posthumus finds her symbolic home in this idealized childhood world. Ambivalence is structured by splitting the tenderness of pastoral care from the feared aggression of sexual contact. Her masculine disguise and playful reminder of its phallic appendage (III.vi.25-26) restore her to the status of pre-Oedipal mother, a woman incompletely differentiated from masculine potentials.

     In their love for Imogen the sons also project a potentially disruptive strain of decorous antagonism toward the father. As their maternal reality would lead us to expect, Imogen becomes not merely the equal of but an alternative to Belarius. Guiderius says:


		I love thee: I have spoke it,
How much the quantity, the weight as much,
As I do love my father.	(IV.ii.16-18)

And Arviragus adds:


If it be sin to say so, sir, I yoke me
In my good brother’s fault: I know not why
I love this youth, and I have heard say,
Love’s reason’s without reason. The bier at door,
And a demand who is’t shall die, I’ld say
"My father, not this youth."	(IV.ii.19-24)

Shakespeare is repeating in modulating form the Oedipal wish for the father’s death, here rendered innocuous by Arviragus’ initial gestures and formal address. Still, the potential for rivalry remains, and a clear direction for aggressive wishes will soon be found as Cloten bungles his way into their world. Success in the play’s search for legitimate paternal authority, a father who guarantees his children’s wishes, requires that sexual rivalry find aim-inhibited, displaced channels of expression. Cloten’s presence in Wales is not simply an intrusion, but a necessary part of the psychological configuration Shakespeare is establishing to cope with paranoiac and hysterical responses to Oedipal anxieties. If one side of this configuration is the restoration of religiously enacted domestic life, the other is sublimation of aggression in defense of parental values.

     Shakespeare bifurcates threatening wish and virtuous defense in the particular characteristics of Cloten and the sons. Arviragus rejects Cloten’s anality when Imogen offers payment for food. His lines link money to its desublimated source:


All gold and silver rather turn to dirt,
As ‘tis no better reckon’d, but of those
Who worship dirty gods. 	(III.vii.26-28)

As an expression of generosity these lines are particularly negative and defensive. Literal payment of debts contaminates divine order. The manifest intention of the lines spills over into Shakespeare’s broader purpose of opposing purity and dirty, impulse and reaction, instinct and sublimation. Holding Cloten’s head, Guiderius says, "This Cloten was a fool, an empty purse,/There was no money in’t" (IV.ii.113-114). The psychology of Cymbeline transforms the anal purity and rarefied expressions of virtuous gratification. The sons’ attitude toward money allies them with the play’s other decontaminated derivatives of anality, the concern with the pure air of Britain (cf. V.ii.3-4) and the oracular definition of Imogen as a "piece of tender air" (V.v. 447). The play manages differences dualistically and leaves no room for a sense of free interplay between opposites. The higher and lower forms of underlying impulses are set against one another and the victory of the higher is shown to us. It is the difference between reaction-formation and integration. The overall strategy of the pastoral sequences is one of undoing in its psychoanalytic meaning, magical reversal, and the resurrection of symmetrical defenses against sexual anxieties.34

Dualistic opposition peaks in Guiderius’ killing of Cloten. Their confrontation reads like a parody of adolescent phallic narcissism:


Gui.			What’s they name?
Clo.	Cloten, thou villain.
Gui.	Cloten, thou double vaillain, be they name,
I cannot tremble at it, were it Toad, or Adder, Spider,
‘Twould move me sooner.		(IV.ii.87-91)

As Guiderius explains after the symbolic castration, it was either Cloten’s head or his. In the sons, phallic aggression in homoerotic context becomes revelation of royalty, since the taboo against unregulated impulse has been restored. "Those that I reverence, those I fear," says Guiderius (IV.ii.95), in a perfect definition of taboo. On one level, Shakespeare plays with the primitive aspect of the sons’ princely narcissism, but the play is serious, ambivalently serious. As Freud said, "’The opposite of play is not what is serious but what is real."35 Cloten represents infantile, perverse forms of the sons’ socialized potency.

     As a form of active mastery, the verbal duel between Cloten and Guiderius opposes two forms of magical thinking: Cloten’s magic and representation, and Guiderius’ magical princeliness, with its mystique of aristocratic potency, that "invisible instinct" (IV.ii.177) Belarius praises to the audience. As a defense by exaggerated reversal, Guiderius’ display of Cloten’s head replaces castration fear by the wish-fulfilling image of phallic power based on mother identification, a pattern that will be repeated in Posthumus’ regained military efficiency after his renewed identification with Imogen. Arviragus points up the psychological connection between love and war with ironic exactness:


		Poor sick Fidele!
I’ll willingly to him; to gain his colour
I’ld let a parish of such Clotens blood
And praise myself for charity. 	(IV.ii.166-169)

The equivalence of narcissism and charity in these lines is conveniently overlooked by critics who like to see selfless devotion where there is platonic love. Shakespeare’s intuition had little to learn from psychoanalysis on this point; after Timon he knew all he needed to know.

     Act IV, scene iv, releases the sons from their prison into the pleasures of masculine conflict. Pleasure is Arviragus’ word:


What pleasure, sir, we find in life, to lock it
From action and adventure.	(IV.iv.2-3)

War elevates the lower expressions of libido to the status of authorized satisfaction (IV.iv.16). Instead of "coward hares, hot goats, and venison" (IV.iv.37), Arviragus wants men. In the context of war, the erotic arousal expressed by flight and flying, Iachimo’s sight-induced erectness, finds its proper direction:


The time seems long, their blod thinks scorn
Till if fly out and show them princes born.
			(IV.iv.53-54)

"Wedlock is the continuation of war by other means," writes Norman O. Brown.36 In Cymbeline war is marriage carried on by other means:


		Have with you, boys!
If in your country wars you chance to die,
That is my bed too, lads, and there I’ll lie.
			(IV.iv.50-52)

The play’s protection from incest is the vicarious incest of war. The true sons of Cymbeline make war, not love, and in making war restore their father’s potency.

     In Wales Cloten becomes the play’s most overdetermined symbol. Frank Kermode and Robert Crams Hunter have recognized that Shakespeare created the dramatic equivalent of the equation Cloten – Posthumus deranged, but their intention of finding only ethical themes prevents them from seeing this equation’s range of significance.37 Of course, Posthumus has "lost his head" at the end of Act II, but it takes a certain literal-mindedness to reduce beheaded Cloten to a vague metaphor. Cloten is very clear for once: "Posthumus, they head … shall within this hour be off" (IV.i 17-18).

     The grounds for identifying Cloten and Posthumus go back to Act III, scene I, where Cloten is left to speak the direct challenge to Caius Lucius, in rhythms which remind us of Posthumus’ wager:

Clo. His majesty bids you welcome. Make pastime with us a day or two, or longer: if you seek us afterwards in other terms, you shall find us in our salt-water girdle: if you beat us out of it, it is yours: if you fall in the adventure, our crows shall fare the better for you: and there’s an end. (III.i.79-85)

Only Cloten and Posthumus share this "if-then" mentality, and each presents a challenge to foreign threats (or threats imagined to be foreign). Cloten is thinking in terms of extensions to hi body (the middle part), identifying his virility, as obsessional personalities do, with the possession of external signs of that virility. Cloten’s challenge and Posthumus’ wager run along parallel lines; each of them needs to project a personal intentionality as a socially valued form of defense.

     This similarity in rhythm and intention may not be enough to identify Cloten and Posthumus, but the play’s clothing imagery prepares us for a fuller response by building up associations between the human body and its coverings, and this accumulation of references results in a magical conflation of the two by the time Cloten, wearing "the same suit [Posthumus] wore when he took leave of [his] lady and mistress" (III.v.127-129), compares himself to Posthumus:38

     The lines of my body are as well drawn as his; no less young, more strong, not beneath him in fortunes, beyond him in the advantage of the time, above him in birth, alike conversant in general services, and more remarkable in single oppositions; yet this imperseverent thing loves him in my despite (IV.i. 10-16; italics added).

The italicized comparatives arouse in the audience the opposite of their manifestly intended result; instead of differentiating Cloten from Posthumus, they confuse us in order to identify the two. In a tour de force of category-mixing Cloten jumps from the body to social evaluations with the agility of manic exhibitionism. To the contiguous magic of wearing Posthumus’ clothes, the speech adds the ambiguity of the pronouns "my" and "his," reinforcing the visual identification by verbal confusions. By the time we get to the second "him"/"my" opposition the distinction has become a fluid area with doubtful boundaries. The speech draws us into Cloten’s mental world by activating in us the same primary process illusions it reveals in him.

     The regressive loss of boundaries is the play’s alternative to Belarius’ detailed differentiation of young and old, socially higher and lower, and to the emphasis on perspective (rational distancing) in the lines in which he teacher hierarchy:


			Consider,
When you above perceive me like a crow,
That it is place which lessens and sets off …
			(III.iii. 11-13)

Belarius teaches straight perception within a morally demarcated landscape. Cloten and Posthumus, however, are not clear perceivers but "imperceiverant things" enslaved to delusions that the play as a whole indulges and strives to contain.

     As a symbol of instinctual drives uninformed by cultural capacity for guilt, Cloten embodies that part of Posthumus which struggles against conscience in a rage for gratification. As we have seen, Posthumus’ ambivalent culminates in his revolted vision of a primal scene, and in the fear of castration associated with it. The decapitation of Cloten in Posthumus’ clothes confirms that fear and also defends against it; Posthumus is punished vicariously for the forbidden wish to possess Imogen sexually, and Cloten is banished unequivocally from the play. After Cloten’s head is displayed and disposed of, Shakespeare repeats the play’s primal-scene preoccupation symbolically by bringing together the bodies of Cloten-Posthumus and Imogen. The conscious explanation for staging this double "burial" is Belarius’ thin rationalization of Cloten’s princeliness, which makes charity seem grotesque. (Guiderius’ reply undercuts his father’s puffed-up purity by immediately reminding us that the body is a body.) Shakespeare manipulates his characters in the interest of more pressing concerns than religious conformity; in those few seconds when Cloten-Posthumus and Imogen lie alone on the stage we witness the quietest primal scene in all literature. No wonder! It occurs between a castrated man and a phallic woman. It is a primal scene reversed, undone.

     Since Shakespeare is attempting to master the fear of castration associated with Imogen as mother, what better strategy than to have her express the anxiety that fear arouses. This is precisely what he does, as she wakes to discover the mutilated corpse she mistakes for Posthumus:


		[Seeing the body of Cloten]
These flowers are like the pleasures of the world;
This bloody man, the care on’t. I hope I dream:
For so I thought I was a cave-keeper,
And cook to honest creatures. But ‘tis not so:
‘Twas but a bolt of nothing, shot at nothing,
Which the brain makes of fumes. Our very eyes
Are sometimes like our judgements, blind.	(IV.ii. 296-302)

Her first sentence defends against the sight of the corpse by generalizing it into an emblem. In denying her cave life, however, she uses more highly cathected language: the "bolt of nothing, shot at nothing"39 expresses and negates phallic aggression simultaneously and leads us, via the ambiguity of "which" (does it refer to "bolt" or to the "nothing," the illusion the brain makes?), to "fumes," an expression in terms of Elizabethan physiology of the anality the play associates with genital sex.40 The next sentence, with its sight metaphor, ends in the thought of blindness, a frequent symbolization of castration. We can see how overdetermined these images and metaphors are if we try to paraphrase them. On a manifest level, the last three lines simply amplify the negation of her pastoral life: "But ‘tis not so." But their latent content reveals the preoccupation of the play with the sexual drives directed at Imogen. Shakespeare has project onto Imogen, as an expression of her distracted state, the unconscious associations which possess Posthumus and Cloten.

     The speech goes on for another thirty lines. Posthumus’ mythically heroic attributes—"His foot Mercurial: his Martial thigh:/The brawns of Hercules" (IV.ii.310-311)—clash with the reality she imagines, the illusion before her eyes which is symbolically true. Her explanation of the sight confirms her powers of reality-testing and also mocks them, since the explanation results in paranoiac delusion. Within the limits of her knowledge she pieces together a logical theory of murder: Pisanio has "Conspir’d with that irreligious devil, Cloten" (IV.ii.325), with hysterical, unconscious accuracy, for Shakespeare has made Pisanio a conspirator with Cloten in the mutilation of a symbolic Posthumus. But on another level pregnancy is precisely what the scene is designed to prevent. The speech itself mutilates the distinction between primary and secondary processes, making highly charged language serve an explanation which is rational, yet an illusion. Shakespeare forces Imogen to reenact regressive states we see in Cymbeline and Posthumus. She suffers for them. In this inverted primal scene Imogen is that "man" who dies" at the sight of the castrated body; she has become a surrogate for Posthumus, who is "killed’ by the sight of the female genitals. The scene works to deny the masculine fantasy by expressing it in an utterly inverted way. "It is not I, the man, who fear to be overwhelmed by a vision of my love mutilated. It is she, my motherwife, who is filled with anxiety and overwhelmed with longing for a whole body." Shakespeare seems to be acting out the same kind of denial which led Posthumus to denounce women at the end of Act II, projecting a man’s unconscious fears as a woman’s barely mediated reality. The irony of the scene is felt at Imogen’s expense, "and irony is a silent form of aggression, in which the ironist does nothing to his object except what his auditors do for him."41

     Shakespeare is indirectly identifying with the aggressive side of Posthumus.42 In a curious gesture of identification he has Imogen bloody her own face before falling on the body:


				O!
Give colour to my pale cheek with thy blood,
That we the horrider may seem to those
Which chance to find us. O, my lord! My lord!
			(IV.ii. 329-332)

When Caius Lucius enters, hers is the "horrid" bloody head, the symbol of aggression’s consequences.43 Lucius, the "enemy" of Britain, rescues her from isolation. The enemy is more than a friend; "And rather father thee than master thee," he says (IV.ii. 395). Lucius becomes the "good" father", unfrightened by the "horrid" sight, who rescues the daughter from unchosen abandonment. He is the only important male character in the play who does not impose an identity on her. Lucius is a comforting father; he neither worships nor defiles:


	Be cheerful; wipe thine eyes:
Some falls are means the happier to arise.	(IV.ii.420-403)44

In encountering Lucius, Imogen passively fulfills the wish she actively expressed before fleeing the court for her haven:


Go, bud my woman feign a sickness, say
She’ll home to her father … (III.ii. 75-76)

Imogen will bury her "master" (IV.ii.388) in a ceremony without the surface display Belarius and the sons exhibit. They announce every move as they make it, directing our attention to the form of the ritual and away from its mourning purpose. She describes a quieter mourning:


			… when
With wild wood-leaves and weeds I ha’ strew’d his grave
And on it said a century of prayers.
(Such as I can) twice o’er, I’ll weep and sigh,
And leaving so his service, follow you,
So please you entertain me.		(IV.ii.389-394)

She is capable of going on in life. The irony, of course, is that Cloten becomes the best-mourned character in Cymbeline. Shakespeare does not relinquish him easily.

     Lucius describes Imogen as someone on a bed, with Cloten as her "bloody pillow" (IV.ii. 363), an appropriate setting for the play’s version of the primal scene. As soon as he saves her, the scene (in more than one sense) shifts to the court, where we are told of the Queen’s fever "Upon a desperate bed" (IV.iii. 6). Psychologically, the Queen’s power and Imogen’s exposure to Cloten’s aggression are equivalent facts; Cloten is the penis of that phallic woman. With Cloten dead and Imogen protected, the Queen’s disease is determined.

     The sequence of events acts out this determination on the level of plotting. To strengthen the role of the father in the play’s romance psychology it is necessary to transfer the phallic woman (Queen) from a position of imagined dominance to a position of accepted and tender childhood, in which case she becomes Imogen, the subordinate to Lucius, but also the gentle boy who "hath taught us manly duties" (IV.ii.397). The Queen and Imogen emerge clearly in this sequence as radically opposed, yet identical figures, two versions of one unconscious imago. Imogen’s fidelity transforms the overwhelming mother into the sustaining mother who is then in turn sustained by, "armed" (IV.ii.400) by, the representative of the only untainted father of the play. Lucius’ concerned tenderness, it seems to me, is Shakespeare’s reparation for the "silent aggression" of the previous episode, as if he sensed the nature of his irony and then recalled his protective paternalism.

     In Act V, scene I, Posthumus is alone again. His isolation is psychological reality, since he wished Imogen killed in his paranoiac response to his primal-scene fantasy; it is a moral statement, since in the economy of his character moral failure is equivalent to the loss of generative relationships with others; and it is a dramatic statement, since it sets him apart as a spectacle for the audience to witness, as Cloten was set apart at the beginning of Act IV. He has become a veritable exemplum of the repentant husband, the "chaste linen" of Act II having become a "bloody cloth" (V.i. 1). Shakespeare turns Posthumus’ hyperbolic paranoia into its opposite00hyperbolic, masochistic submission to the all-powerful otherness of God. The vast disillusionment of his previous soliloquy dwindles to calling Imogene’s imagined betrayal "wrying but a little" (V.i. 5) and "little faults" (V.i. 12). Submission is distanced in its impact because he is presented as an almost allegorical image.45 The wish for blood, conflated as it was with the ambivalent wish for sexual intercourse, had "italianted" Posthumus, and now he comes down on the side of Italian aggression against the motherland.

     The way out of this identification with his own enemy is to become a British "Christian." Repentance here means utter passivity before the gods:


			But alack,
You snatch some hence for little faults; that’s love,
To have them fall no more: you some permit
To second ills with ills, each elder worse,
And make them dread it, to the doers’ thrift.
But Imogen is your own, do your best wills,
And make me blest to obey.	(V.i. 11-17)

Imogen is the property of the father. As G. Wilson Knight says, "one feels the divine powers very near, he is talking to them."46 Such intimacy is purchased at the price of independent masculine assertion. Notice how ironically paradoxical is Posthumus’ submission, for even as he renounces Oedipal wishes, he makes the gods responsible for Imogen’s "death," which he thinks a reality. This "thrift" is based on complete reciprocity. Since the gods are responsible for everything, his submission relieves him of a burden of guilt at the very moment he accepts the burden of their inscrutable wills. "The wish for punishment, then, has the following meaning," wrote Reich of the masochistic character, "to bring about the relaxation after all, by way of a detour, and to shift the responsibility to the punishing person."47 The will to suffer is the inverse of aggression against the father. according to the logic of Posthumus’ statement he should have said "each younger worse,"48 but the old ambivalence toward the "elder" lingers even in his resolve to die for his sin. The only course of action to which Posthumus commit himself is based on the expectation of death. His essential passivity remains unchanged, since his identification with "the strength o’ th’ Leonati" (V.i.31) is seen as a means to this passivity, and only secondarily as a positive act in the service of Britain. In Posthumus the mother-identification beneath the aggression of Renaissance heroes from Marlow to Chapman is so close to the surface that it shrinks his stature throughout the play and needs to be supplemented by an almost manic insistence on his noble origin and masculine potency.

     The "Christian" nature of Posthumus’ conversion has been emphasized by Robert Grams Hunter,40 who places the play in a long tradition of comedies of "forgiveness," but he does not propose a psychology adequate to explain the relationship between Posthumus sinning and Posthumus repentant. Ernest Jones defined the psychological core of the tradition in terms of passive homosexuality:

Object-love for the Mother is replaced by a regression to the original identification with her, so that incest is avoided and the Father pacified; further the opportunity is given of winning the Father’s love by the adoption of a feminine attitude towards him. Peace of mind is purchased by means of a change of heart in the direction of a change of sex.50

The test of Imogen’s virtue was based on a fear of incest and a strong reaction-formation against that fear. Now Posthumus’ repentance attempts to undo the crime committed in fantasy. His death wish is as obsessively self-negative as his earlier plan was a perversion of justice. He "pays his heart,/For what his eyes eat only" (Antony and Cleopatra II.ii. 225-226) His penance harbors the same regressive wish as the test of Imogen’s chastity, the wish for total union with the maternal source of his identity: "… so I’ll die/For thee, O Imogen, even for whom my life/Is, every breath, a death …" (V.i. 25-27).51 Undoing the crime repeats its motive, once the motive has been isolated from the fear of castration. The play doesn’t dramatize the overcoming of the wish for oral union, but fulfills the wish within the carefully controlled context of the final scene, after the vision has overcompensated for his weak defenses.

     In his resolve to die for Imogen, Posthumus becomes a Briton once more. In terms of the play’s magical thinking, this means that Iachimo, an embodiment of his sexual aggression, has been defeated within him. The next scene presents us with the correlative of this psychological fact:


Iach. The heaviness and guilt within my bosom
         Takes off my manhood: I have belied a lady,
         The princess of this country; and the air on’t
         Revengingly enfeebles me, or could this carl,
         A very drudge of Nature’s, have subdued me
         In my profession?	(V.ii. 1-6)

Posthumus’ guilt having been magically displaced along with the castration fear, he can now join the lost sons in rescuing the father from certain defeat. His aggression against the ideal woman has been converted into identification with her and aggression in her defense. Only then can the father be restored as a stable force within traditional social hierarchy. And only then are we ready to receive the vision of Jupiter. On the level of fantasy the situation of Acts I and II has been reverse, the defenses (literal and psychological) of British virtue restored by Shakespearean fiat. It is a technique which quartered hath three parts wish fulfillment and one part playful detachment.52

     When the battle’s lost and won, Posthumus finds himself reversed again, as constraint becomes the symbol of liberation. His initial gift of a "manacle of love" (I.ii.53) is transformed into literal situation. The captive’s chains ironically gratify the earlier wish to bind himself and Imogen beyond the vicissitudes of time. The father in him makes him a child and the child sees imprisonment as mercy:


			Is’t enough I am sorry?
So children temporal fathers do appease;
Gods are more full of mercy.		(V.iv. 11-13)

The manacle (bracelet) appeared before as a symbol of genital betrayal, and now that its significance has been retransformed in a kind of visual pun into part of its sender’s immediate reality, he can find withdrawn repose. Sleep will reunite him with the image of the good mother, beyond words. "O Imogen,/I’ll speak to thee in silence" (V.iv. 28-29). Posthumus has become an infant, infans, speechless.

     Solemn music, as always in Shakespeare, engenders a mood of relaxed and enraptured oral receptivity ("If music be the food of love, play on"). As in Pericles, it prepares us to retrieve lost identifications. We lose ourselves in the music to find the father whose loss signified violent sexual release in a world saturated with confusions. The spectacular nature of the vision is consonant with its regressive and restorative aims, since it is literally a spectacle, something to be looked at intensely and introjected through the eye.53

     The vision recapitulates the elements of Posthumus’ family romance. Jupiter is first invoked by the denigration of humanity, but his "adulteries" are blamed for parents neglect:


No more thou thunder-master, show	
  thy spite on mortal flies:
With Mars fall out, with Juno chide,
  that they adulteries
Rates and revenges.  (V.iv. 30-34)

The role of the father is to protect the child from "this earth-vexing smart" (V.iv. 42), his life, while all creative power is invested in "Great nature" (V.iv. 48). Since lineage defines essence, the dream presents Posthumus’ past simply as a deviation from his true value. We are intended to forget the ambiguities which surrounded the initial presentation of his character, the ambivalent roots of what now becomes "needless jealous" (V.iv. 66). His brothers identify Posthumus with themselves as servants of earthly fathers. The failure of trust is projected onto the god, as Jupiter is given the ultimatum of direct intervention or the loss of human love. In other words, the superego is threatened with the superego’s own weapons. Posthumus’ family projects onto the paternal figure the very deviations Posthumus attempted unsuccessfully to defend himself against before his repentance, the adultery he feared, the trust that failed. The heavenly father seems tainted, not the son.54

     Jupiter descends in all his phallic power, "sitting upon an eagle." The vision is a krakophany, a revelation of the father’s unmitigated power, expressing in its crucial lines a teleological assurance of patriarchal stability:


Be not with mortal accidents opprest,
  No care of yours it is, you know ‘tis ours.
Whom best I love I cross; to make my gift,
  The more delay’d, delighted. (V.iv. 99-102)

The vision restores the nucleus of Posthumus’ superego in a god who minimizes the significance of human suffering in order to bind the fulfillment of wishes to a sense of the ego’s dependence. Jupiter is a god designed to keep humanity in a state of infantile expectation of external rewards, precisely the god appropriate to the conflicts Shakespeare imagines in Posthumus. His "gifts’ imply the need for self-sacrifice, and he withholds gratification in order to intensify human responses. Cymbeline is a regression in the service of Jupiter as superego, a god who takes care of humanity because it cannot take care of itself. The sheer power of such an internalized father would make homosexual submission and mother-identification almost inevitable.

     Jupiter’s sublimated anality reverses Cymbeline’s paranoia. While Cymbeline would "pen her up" (I.ii. 84), Jupiter gives Imogen as a gift. Cymbeline withholds out of fear of baseness, Jupiter withholds in order to delight ("Delight" incorporates a homonymic pun on "light" and a projection of visual interest onto its object. The gift, rather than the receiver, is imagined as delighted.) Yet for both Imogen is a possession, for Cymbeline a "thing" and for Jupiter a "piece of tender air" (a curious image which expresses substantiality and insubstantiality at the same time).55 Jupiter is a controlled and elevated version of the King, a father who grants the son’s Oedipal wish in exchange for the ability to withhold gratification and idealize erotic interest. Jupiter does for Posthumus what Shakespeare does for the audience, for Shakespeare also withholds gratification until the last dazzling scene, carrying a conventional comic form to an unprecedented degree of complication before offering us the gift of total reconciliation.

     Shakespeare seems to sense how reductively escapist the vision is—it patches over all of Posthumus’ violence in wish and act—since he instills it with comically humanized tension between the ghosts and the god. On one level he is playing with the idea of awe-inspiring deity. Jupiter "throws a thunderbolt," tells the ghosts to "hush!," exhibits the impatience of a father taken from more immediate pleasures to perform parental functions, and ascends with his eagle preening its fathers in self-satisfaction. Insofar as the dues ex machine is a dues, he has been humanized; insofar as he comes ex machina, he is divorced from the fluctuations of the human world. the sheet mechanics of the vision, together with the use of fourteeners and alexandrines (those old, repetitive, and "crudely" familiar rhythms providing a sense of tradition together with a sense of detached superiority in a Jacobean audience) come together to displace our energies away from the awe-inspiring and toward control. Formalization provided, and still provides, a way of coping with what otherwise might be an anxiety-releasing situation. The vision thus suits Shakespeare’s felt need to bring his audience into contact with paternal authority from a child’s point of view without engendering the sense of abject submission Posthumus contains.56

     On the other hand, the formal defenses of the vision are improvised for the occasion. They do not fit into a recurrent pattern, and therefore evaporate with the ghosts. Posthumus wakes to remember his family but makes no mention of the god. But at least he restores generative potency to his depression:


Sleep, thou has been a grandsire, and begot
A father to me: and thou hast created
A mother, and two brothers … 	(V.iv. 123-125)

The powers of generation now reside completely in a masculine figure, a grandsire. The ambiguity of "begot … to me" contains the implication that Posthumus is the passive partner in the relationship. A few lines later, however, he is back to distrust of earthly fathers, and we are wondering how Shakespeare will conflate or at least structure split paternity. Before Posthumus’ speech ends, we are smiling half out of indulgence, half to contain irritation. He reads the oracular tablet and then says,


‘Tis still a dream: or else such stuff as madmen
Tongue, and brain not: either both, or nothing,
Or senseless speaking, or a speaking such
As sense cannot untie. Be what it is,
The action of my life is like it …
			(V.iv. 146-150)

Compulsive doubt about the action of his life does define all his relationships, with the exception of the mother-imago he worships. Given that confusion, the only unequivocal act left to him is self-sacrifice. He relishes the possibility of sacrificing his life to become a source of gratification:


First Gaol. Come, sir, are you ready for death?
Post. Over-roasted rather: ready long ago.
First Gaol. Hanging is the word, sir: if you be ready for that, you are well cook’d.
Post. So, if I prove a good repast to the spectators, the dish pays the shot.
                 (V.iv. 152-157)57

The feeling we have is that Posthumus is to be hanged "on the expectation of plenty" (Macbeth III.iii), only it is we who are expecting the sacrificial feast, he who is conscious of providing it. There could hardly be a better way of transforming his mother-identification into a comic gratification.58 As the dialogue moves along, we get metaphors from the Gaoler for payment of debts (as drained vitality), ego-loss in drinking, death as release from castration fear ("he that sleeps feels not the toothache" [V.iv. 175-176]) and finally a series of "eye" images which also defend against castration fears by distancing them into structured prose. The Gaoler’s line, "Unless a man would marry a gallows … I never saw one so prone" (V.iv. 204-205), repeats as humor the associations of marriage and mutilation so prevalent in the earlier manifestations of Posthumus’ condition. Posthumus is imagined to share an unproblematic exchange with another person for the first time in the play, which shows how essential his passivity is to the characteristic responses Shakespeare projects in him.

     The prison scene reinforces Posthumus’ earlier regression and expands his purified mother-identification to include the restoration of the traditional family matrix and, in the theophany, a revelation of the ego-ideal which authenticates human roles. From a psychoanalytic point of view, Jupiter is no arbitrary deity. In an analogy to the fragmented personality, Freud wrote: "If we throw a crystal to the floor, it breaks; but not into haphazard pieces. It comes apart along its lines of cleavage into fragments who se boundaries, though they were invisible, were predetermined by the crystal’s structure."59 The vision of Jupiter is the final stage in a regressive process which reveals the structural center of Posthumus’ conflicts while it recovers the therapeutic efficacy of his omnipotent paternal superego. Posthumus moves in his psychic disintegration and partial reintegration from reaction-formation (which fails) to violent ambivalence (which releases the wish for the death of the sexual mother-wife) to mother-identification (which restores original purity and denies castration fears by assuming a castrated position) and finally to the restoration of the father’s care for his impotent child. The child’s potency is representative of paternal values; it only operates effectively as aggression in the service of the mother country. Cymbeline reinstitutes a participatory hierarchy; the moral and military restoration of the child depends, psychologically, on identification with the aggressor after homosexual submission.60 It would be more accurate to say that Posthumus is moved through the stages of this process, since Shakespeare’s strategy is to display him to us at critical stages along his psychological journey.

     Only in the last scene does Posthumus find oral union without castration. He strikes Imogen in a moment of rage against the futility of possessing her:


  			   O Imogen!
        My queen, my life, my wife, O Imogen,
        Imogen, Imogen!
Imo.			Peace my lord, hear, hear—
Post.Shall’s have a play of this? Thou scornful page,
        There lie they part. [Striking her: she falls]
				(V.v. 225-229)

"There lie thy part." Aggressive compulsion to subdue the "woman’s part," which was a projection of his fear for his masculinity, is recapitulated in a sudden blow. Then there is a separation of thirty lines, and the final reunion. Posthumus speaks the most beautiful line in the play:


		Hang there like fruit, my soul,
Till the tree die.		(V.v. 263-264)

The line is a magnificent condensation of fantasy and meaning. At once oral and phallic, it grants his deepest wish and platonically desexualizes it.61 Symbiotic reunion with the nourishing mother creates an image of merger in absolute dependence. Read one way, the line says that Posthumus himself becomes the fruit-bearing tree, Imogen the sublimated fruit. But Posthumus can also be seen as the fruit sustained by Imogen as the tree. The distinction between subject and object has been removed. (Even the movements of the mouth involved in speaking the line parallel its meaning. The lips only touch once, gently on the sound of "my," every other word open-mouthed in receptivity, and "tree die" leaves Posthumus’ mouth opening.)62

     Phallic restoration and oral merger recur in the oracular tablet and the Soothsayer’s vision. The reunion of Cymbeline and his sons re-members the familial body of the King and of Britain:


The lofty cedar, royal Cymbeline,
Personates thee: and they lopp’d branches point
They two sons forth … 	(V.v. 454-456)

Even the Soothsayer’s verb ("point … forth") emphasizes the phallic nature of the act of reconstruction. The King’s body made whole, Cymbeline can submit to Caesar without fear of mangled laws. The rationalization of his previous defiance is forgotten as he invests all responsibility in the castrating Queen:


Although the victor, we submit to Caesar,
And to the Roman empire; promising
To pay our wonted tribute, from the which
We were dissuaded by our wicked queen.
			(V.v. 461-464)

The play’s escapist way out of the ambivalence it embodies grants the wish for bodily and political integrity at the price of polarizing guilt and innocence. Shakespeare reverses Cymbeline’s responsibility because, psychologically, submission to the father Ceasar is a safeguard against the evil mother’s feared powers. With the Queen dead, Cymbeline has again become the composite parent who bred Posthumus:


		O, what am I?
A mother to the birth of three?
			(V.v. 369-370)

Cloten becomes "her son" (V.v.272) alone. Behind these lines we can see the fulfillment of Posthumus’ wish that men be without the aid of women.

     Submission to Caesar is the play’s final act of fusion:


		     For the Roman eagle,
From south to west on wing soaring aloft,
Lessen’d herself and in the beams o’ the sun
So vanish’d; which foreshow’d our princely eagle,
Th’ imperial Caesar, should again unite
His favour with the radiant Cymbeline,
Which shines here in the west.	(V.v. 471-477)

For the purposes of this recapitulatory fantasy, Caesar becomes a female eagle, an androgynous prince, yet the active force in the reunion. The suggestion of submission in "Lessen’d herself" reverses the true situation, and Cymbeline becomes stationary, "radiant," receptive in his power. Oral fusion of equally potent powers transcends the sense of submission, as does Cymbeline’s order to "let/A Roman, and a British ensign wave/Friendly together" (V.v. 480-482). Political antagonism was an unpaid debt to the father, just as Posthumus’ enraged paranoia was an attempt to absolve the father of sexual responsibility, and in the final harmony both earthly fathers are elevated to the level of sublimely potent nobility, bisexual, active and submissive at once.

     The eagle flies from south to west, from Rome, the scene of sexual betrayal, to Milford Haven, the "heaven" of harmony. In his earlier telling the Soothsayer said:


I saw jove’s bird, the Roman eagle, wing’d
From the spongy south to the part of the west,
There vanish’d in the sunbeams … (IV.ii.348-350)

The "spongy south" suggests the softness of the lower regions, sexual as well as geographical. The play’s other uses of the word "south" link it to Imogen’s chamber ("The chimney/Is south the chamber," says Iachimo [II.iv.80-81]) and to Cloten’s anality ("The south-fog rot him!" [II.iii. 132]). In the Jargon of psychoanalysis, the eagle’s flight summarizes the flight in the play from genital and anal eroticism to sublimated oral fusion which guarantees masculine virility. Caesar, Cymbeline, Posthumus (in his identification with the fruitful tree) all become symbols of a deeply rooted identification with omnipotent mother the child imagines in infancy. In Shakespeare’s world the good father includes the maternal within himself. The King is both parents combined, and thus a model for the son to follow if he would avoid the potential for self-destruction involved in seeking external sexual gratification. Shakespeare’s re-mythologized world defends against anxiety and disillusioned fantasies by the regressive restoration of preambivalent parental figures.63 The sense of wonderful and mysterious harmony so many critics find in the final scene derives from the convergence of ego-ideals with the characters’ actual situation. The tension between wish and reality dissolves in the sense of interdependent relationships identical with their ideal images. But not completely, because we are aware of how compensatory this final fantasy is.

     Shakespeare replaces the paranoiac Cymbeline, the one who raged against Imogen, by a new Cymbeline, one who thinks in terms of trust, without any transition from one conception to its wish-fulfilling substitute. The new Cymbeline says,


 		    Mine eyes
Were not in fault, for she was beautiful:
Mine ears that heard her flattery, not my heart
That thought her like her seeming. It had been vicious
To have mistrusted her …		(V.v. 62-66)

This is an example of compulsive thinking. As Simon O. Lesser points out, "Compulsives … develop alternative explanations of events to express their ambivalence and to avoid decisions; their thinking is a mechanism of defense."64 Shakespeare is apologizing for Cymbeline’s past, succumbing to magical denial in the interest of purifying the final reunions. The elation of the final scene contains an admixture of manic defense against the play’s potentially catastrophic illusions. Shakespeare is patching over a deep split in his ego (and the dominant ego of his age) which leads to violent conceptions of genital sex and radically polarized images of sexual identity. The final scene edits the past to conform to present wishes. As Norman Rabkin, following a suggestion of Granville-Barker’s, has acknowledged, at the center of the play’s conscious strategy of plot complication and its rationally absurd disclosures lies a wish fulfillment. "If everything comes out happily, we must be aware in the end that it does so because the playwright has made it do so by tricks which he has made us acknowledge as tricks even while we believe them."65 An accurate analogy here is not to religious experience of total harmony, but to the evasion of ambivalence which caricatures religious atonement.66 The dialectical relationship between sin and repentance freezes into a duality; the trick lies in Shakespeare’s ability to substitute happiness for guilt while temporarily seducing us into a sense of felix culpa.

     Cymbeline presents us in its final tour de force of restorations with a compensatory fantasy beneath which the original fears still lurk. Posthumus becomes merely the innocent victim of Iachimo’s subtlety. The Queen, without whom Cymbeline was helpless, becomes "naught" (V.v.271). Even Belarius’ responsibility is partially siphoned off to Europhile (we are told that she actually stole the sons at his instigation). The other side of this negating process is the idealization of familial and aristocratic roles. Cymbeline is ready to put Guiderius to death for murdering a "prince" (V.v. 291) who by that point has been drained of his princely blood ten times over, and Shakespeare, as throughout, achieves his irony at the father’s expense. Legalistic compliance in the myth of noble birth, the automatic assumption of hierarchic value, allegorically reductive and romantically useful, becomes in Cymbeline a device for more problematic restorations. We have no sense that Cymbeline has overcome his past deviations from the properties of his role. Shakespeare is playing god, and while his grace may be good theology, it makes unsatisfying drama. The final scene, as R. J. Kaufmann has observed,67 restores roles rather than persons, each role being slipped into place with jigsaw precision. This may be enough for the illusion of harmony but it sacrifices the intensity of felt psychic conflict for the depersonalized establishment of defenses. Shakespeare fences off what threatens the coherent expression of love, but pays the price of diminishing his characters to their familial functions. The final scene retells the story of the play, not as it was, but as it might have been.

     Shakespeare has not yet found the tragic-comic form that fully contains the fears and aggressions he evokes in Cymbeline in a father, and that represents their object in an unconsciously harbored mother-imago. In order to save the King, Shakespeare splits the mother into Imogen and the Queen and thus perpetuates the illusion of external responsibility. In The Winter’s Tale Leontes will become the focus of paranoiac illusion and there will be no apology for the violence of his regression and no need to keep him from direct acceptance of maternal love.

     Perhaps Shakespeare knew the truth beneath the illusion. In the final line, in a final parenthesis, we seem to have a last ironic hint of his intuition that the purification has not occurred.


		Never was a war did cease
(Ere bloody hands were wash’d) with such a peace.
			(V.v. 485-486)
 



Works Cited


1London, 1955, p. xli.

2Shakespeare’s relation to a new theater is discussed by G.E. Bentley in “Shakespeare and the Blackfriars Theatre,” Shakespeare Survey, I (1948), 38-50

3General Observations on the Plays of Shakespeare (1756).

4Quotations from Cymbeline follow the Arden edition.

5The Crown of Life (London, 1947), p. 132.

6Shakespeare’s Festive Comedy (Cleveland, 1963), p. 24.

7 Sister Miriam Joseph, Rhetoric in Shakespeare’s Time (New York, 1947), p. 331.

8See Eric Partridge, Shakespeare’s Bawdy (New York, 1960), entries under “nose” and “nose-painting” for confirmation of this symbolism.

9See Otto Fenichel, The Psychoanalytic Theory of Neurosis (New York, 1945), pp. 281, 427-436, for a summary of psychoanalytic thought on this theme. See also Freud, “Character and Anal Erotism” (1908) in The Standard Edition of the Complete Psychological Works of Sigmund Freud, ed. James Strachey, et al. (hereafter abbreviated S.E.), 24 vols. (London, 1953-1966), IX, 169-175. Karl Abraham supplemented the connection between feces and money in “Contributions to the Theory of the Anal Character,” in Selected Papers on Psycho-Analysis (New York, 1953.) Doing and undoing is a characteristic defense in obsessional neurosis. See Anna Freud, The Ego and the Mechanisms of Defense (New York, 1966), p. 34. Fenichel (p. 155) remarks on “the fact that the mechanism of undoing is so often applied in conflicts around anal erotism.” Cloten represents an example of what Freud called “regressive deteriorization of the genital function.” “On Transformations of Instinct as Exemplified in Anal Erotism” (1917), S.E., XVII, 127-133.

10I am indebted to Miss Margaret Darby for this suggestion.

11See Louis B. Wright, Middle-Class Culture in Elizabethan England (Chapel Hill, 1935), pp. 465-507, for a summary of material on “The Popular Controversy over Women.” Evidence for this ambivalence is pervasive in Elizabethan and Jacobean drama. The other side of idealization is summarized by Vindice in Tourneur’s The Revenger’s Tragedy: “Wives are but made to go to bed and feed.”

12Joseph, Rhetoric, p. 331.

13The paper, entitled “The Psycho-Dynamics of Metaphor,” is unpublished. It was delivered before the Group for the Psychological Study of Literature in Buffalo in the spring of 1968.

14“Fond,” meaning “foolish,” seems to cast doubt on the father’s integrity, as if Shakespeare were playing with his own reverence.

15See Freud, “On the Universal Tendency to Debasement in the Sphere of Love” (1912), S.E., XI, 179-190.

16Ibid., p. 183.

17The concept of “altruistic surrender” is discussed by Anna Freud, Ego and Mechanisms, pp. 122-134.

18Cf. Pastorella’s birthmark, also on the breast, in The Faerie Queene VI.xii.vii:


	Vpon the little brest like christall bright,
	She mote perceive a little purple mold,
	That like a rose her silken leaues did faire unfold.
  

Although this passage may be a “source” for Imogen’s mole, notice how Shakespeare thinks in terms of enfolding while Spenser thinks in terms of opening out. In the other possible “source” for the image, Frederyke of Jennen, the mark is “a blacke warte” on “her lefte arme.” Shakespeare accentuates the breast and with a tone characteristic of the play.

19The bracelet’s effect on Posthumus is precisely that of Medusa’s head. See Freud, “Medusa’s Head” (1940 [1922]), S.E., XVIII, 273-274

20The coining conception of birth derives from the child’s equation of feces and child. See Freud, “On the Sexual Theories of Children” (1908), S.E., IX, 209-226. The defense against genital sex is thus a regression to this earlier conception of reproduction. It has the advantage of absolving the parents from sexual contact, and it makes generation a possibility for men alone. “If babies are born through the anus, then a man can give birth just as well as a woman” (pp. 219-220). In Act V this wish is symbolically fulfilled as Cymbeline becomes a “mother to the birth of three” (V.v.370). Anality defends against incest.

21See The Winter’s Tale II.iii.102-106, where Leontes wishes to banish yellow from the colors of the ordered mind. Yellow is there clearly associated with the jealous mind, and it is regularly associated with diseases like jaundice.

22“German” also means “blood relation,” which makes the boar a part of the family. Cf. Othello I.i.112-113: “you’ll have coursers for cousins, and gennets for germans.” The boar is a traditional symbol of sexual aggression, as in Venus and Adonis and Richard III. This is true in the East well as we the West. “On the one hand it occurs as a symbol of intrepidness, and of irrational urge toward suicide. On the other hand it stands for licentiousness.” J. E. Cirlot, A Dictionary of Symbols (London, 1962). Such ambivalence is appropriate in Posthumus’ fantasy.

23It is worth noting that the speech keeps us at a distance from its fantasy content by the relative absence of images in its final fifteen lines. The absence of images and heavy reliance on general mood qualities may account for the “ungenuine” quality critics have sensed here. The speech does not permit the intensity of participation characteristic of, say, Othello or Leontes.

24“Puzzling Epiphanies,” Essays in Criticism, XIII (October 1963), 397.

25Psycho-Analytic Notes on an Autobiographical Account of a Case of Paranoia” (1911), S.E., XII, 9-82. The quotation is on p. 49.

26The myth of the Birth of the Hero, ed. Philip Freund (New York, 1959), pp. 64-96.

27G. Wilson Knight hints at this point when he says, “The Queen throughout personifies the ugly thing Posthumus suspects in Imogen.” Crown of Life, p. 131.

28Cymbeline says, “Son, let your mother end” (III.i.40), but Cloten goes right on. Notice how Cloten is accepted here as the King’s “son.”

29The ambiguous phrase, “behoves me keep at utterance,” may be illuminated if we remember that the superego frequently manifests itself in vocal forms.

30K. M. Abenheimer makes this point in “Shakespeare’s ‘Tempest’: A Psychological Analysis,” Psychoanalytic Review, XXXIII (1946), 399-415.

31“Notes on Shakespeare’s Cymbeline,” Shakespeare Studies, I (1965), 135. Hofling’s essay is biographical and provides guarded support for some of the ideas I develop out of the play itself.

32Crown of Life, p. 158.

33C. L. Barber recognizes this hypothetical aspect of pastoral in connection with A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Shakespeare’s Festive Comedy, p. 146.

34Symmetry determines the one-to-one correspondences between perverse and noble attitudes, but the fact that there are two sons overbalances the scale away from anxiety and toward control, an appropriate comic technique.

35“Creative Writers and Day-Dreaming” (1908 [1907]), S.E., IX, 143-153. The quotation is on p. 144.

36Love’s Body (New York, 1966), p. 64

37Frank Kermode, Shakespeare: The Final Plays (London, 1963), p. 26; Robert Grams Hunter, Shakespeare and the Comedy of Forgiveness (New York, 1965), p. 158.

38J. C. Flügel, in The Psychology of Clothes (London, 1930), discusses the conflation of the body and its coverings from a psychoanalytic viewpoint. Angus Fletcher writes, in Allegory: The Theory of a Symbolic Mode (Ithaca, 1964), p. 195: “In poetry any two systems of images put in parallel, and kept in parallel, will appear to be magically joined—as readers of poetry we assume a primitive attitude and ask how two levels could fail to be united by occult affinity, if they are thus drawn together by formal correspondence.” In Cymbeline clothing and animal images generate magical unions of this sort. For example, Guiderius says, “O when thou grew’st thyself” (IV.ii.201-203). The fusion is incomplete, however, and Posthumus never becomes a convincing eagle.

39The gender of “nothing” becomes clear in lines 367-368. Imogen says, “I am nothing; or if not,/Nothing to be were better.” In the end the Queen becomes “naught” (V.v. 271).

40Cf. the Arden edition note to Macbeth I.vii. 66-68: “The old anatomists divided the brain into three ventricles, in the hindmost of which, viz. The cerebellum, they placed the memory.” It does not appear accidental that fumes originate in the hindmost region, displaced upward. Ernest Jones discovered elaborate and detailed relationships between anality and such physiological fantasies as this one. See his essay on “The Madonna’s Conception Through the Ear” in Essays in Applied Psycho-Analysis, Vol. II (London, 1964), pp. 266-357.

41C. L. Barber, “ ‘Perfection of the Work’: The Use of the Drama for Shakespeare,” Sarah Lawrence Alumnae Magazine, Fall 1965, p. 16.

42Hofling, “Notes on Cymbeline,” p. 133, notes that “Shakespeare became parentless with the death of his mother at the beginning of the pivotal period which saw the writing of Coriolanus and Cymbeline.” Thus, the meager biographical facts support the identification of Shakespeare and Posthumus, whose name “clearly represents a conscious, deliberate effort to call to mind the parentless state of this protagonist.”

43C. L. Barber has suggested to me that this gesture may also represent primitive way of accepting Posthumus’ love, as if to say, “even if it is violent I accept it as apart of myself, I identify myself with it.”

44Shakespeare’s obsession with reversal makes Imogen turn from Lucius to Posthumus in the last scene. She doesn’t plead for Lucius’ life. Shakespeare pays a high price for averting tragedy. The minor or representative characters in the play—Pisanio, Lucius, Cornelius, the Gaoler—are the only ones whose actions encourage our unambiguous identification with them.

45Allegorical distancing, displaying the characters in isolation to reveal discrete qualities or impulses, is a form of decontamination, the dramatic equivalent of obsessional categorization. The technique has a counterpart in reporting action, raising it to the level of mentation, speaking instead of acting, and has another aspect in the frequent sharp shifts of tone, as in the pastoral scenes, where we move from tenderness to anxiety to tenderness, from the funeral dirge to Imogen’s sight of the body to Lucius’ entry. Isolation by words, isolation of moods, isolation of characters—the play carries these to compulsive and unintegrated lengths.

46Crown of Life, p. 182.

47Character Analysis (New York, 1933), p. 243.

48The note in the Arden edition tries unsuccessfully to wrangle out of this contradiction, but I take it as characteristic of the continuing confusion embodied in Posthumus. Earlier Arviragus spoke of “the stinking-elder, grief” (IV.ii. 59), referring to the tree, but the word “elder” had a derogatory sense for Shakespeare. Biographical and internal evidence indicates that Shakespeare is attempting to master his own unconscious incestuous desires in the last plays. It seems to me that in Cymbeline self-hatred is still too powerful for him to project an untainted father as a character on the stage. The only father we could identify with is Caesar, who isn’t a character at all (another form of isolation). Shakespeare keeps apart the good and bad aspects of the father and then simply converts the King into a good father at the end. If Cymbeline were only a projection of Posthumus’ attitude toward the father, there would be no need to excuse the King at the end; he simply would be different, would change as in a dream. The failure of Cymbeline is a failure of secondary elaboration; it is a play with a broken ego.

49Shakespeare and the Comedy of Forgiveness, p. 176.

50“A Psycho-Analytic Study of the Holy Ghost Concept” (1922), Essays in Applied Psycho-Analysis, II, 366.

51Shakespeare usually imagines one component of heroic action as a resistance to precisely this wish. Cf. Hamlet IV.iv.33-35: “What is a man,/If his chief good and market of his time/Be but to sleep and feed? A beast, no more.”

52Posthumus’ long speech at V.iii. 3-58 distances the battle into words in an attempt to monumentalize it (as a form of legendary history) and he emphasizes the complete reversal that also characterizes the description in Holinshed. Holinshed contains the “narrow lane” (line 52) and subscribes to the invincibility of Haie (Belarius). The idea that mean “hurt behind” (12) are cowards goes back at least as far as Horace. Unconsciously, the speech describes a homosexual encounter in which Belarius and the sons, “having found the back-door open” (45), drive the Romans from the “narrow land.” The emphasis on flight (24) and the repeated “Stand, stand” (28 and 31) indicate sexual arousal, and the anal aspect is symbolized by the strewn bodies of the dead, the “mortal bugs o’ th’ field” (51), and by Posthumus’ line, “Will you rhyme upon’t,/And vent it for a mock’ry?” (55-56). This is one of those “mortal accidents” Jupiter calls human history.

53In one of the more orthodox passages of Love’s Body, Norman O. Brown writes: “Identification with the representative person whom we ‘look up to’ takes place through the eye. In psychoanalytic jargon, the super-ego is based on ‘incorporation through the eye’ or ‘ocular introjection’; it is the sight of a parental figure that becomes a permanent part of us; and that now supervises, watches us” (p. 122).

54This antagonism toward the father supports Ludwig Jekels’ view that “the feeling of guilt which, in tragedy, rests upon the son, appears in comedy displaced on the father; it is the father who is guilty” (“On the Psychology of Comedy,” reprinted in Comedy: Meaning and Form, ed. Robert W. Corrigan [San Francisco, 1965], p. 264). In Cymbeline, as in Measure for Measure and All’s Well That ends Well, the “problematic” aspect of the comedy derives from the fact that the father is finally absolved from guilt.

55Of course, air is a ‘higher” element in Renaissance philosophy, cosmology, and physiology, but this doesn’t explain the effect or meaning of the conception. Imogen becomes a pervasive presence, literally sustaining, yet ungraspable and impersonal. That the father gives the “tender air” as a gift implies an unconscious anal conception of birth and masculine sexual sufficiency. The notion of woman as man’s possession is the other side of Renaissance idealization. In III.vii. 43, Guiderius says, “I bid for you as I do buy.” Fenichel writes that “a society whose ideology makes one marriage partner appear as the property of the other, for this reason increases the psycho-economic usefulness of jealous” (“A contribution to the Psychology of Jealousy,” in The Collected Papers of Otto Fenichel, First Series [New York, 1954], p. 351). For documentation of the notion of woman as property see Louis B. Wright, Middle-Class Culture, pp. 465-507.

56The spectacular nature of the vision has obvious connections with the masque, but it seems to me that a critic who only notes masque conventions—surface display, stage machinery, the equivalence of character and function, magical power—misses the point of the vision. The important fact is not that the vision has affinities with the masque form, or that Shakespeare might have been “influenced” by his courtly audience at Blackfriars, but that he found in the convention a way of embodying the kind of experience I am discussing.

57In Erogeneity and Libido (New York, 1957), Robert Fliess notes the cannibalistic conception of execution contained in these lines.

58Freud writes in “Humour” (1927), S.E., XXI, 162: “there is no doubt that the essence of humour is that one spares oneself the affects to which the situation would naturally give rise and dismisses the possibility of such expressions of emotion with a jest.” Freud cites the humour of a man about to be executed. In Posthumus’ last appearance before the reunion Shakespeare allows us a modicum of identification with his weak hero.

59“New Introductory Lecture on Psycho-Analysis” (1933 [1932]), S.E., XXII, 59.

60We thus have a double identification: (1) identification with the mother-wife, passive and receptive; and (2) identification with the father, the aggressor feared because of aggressive and incestuous wishes. The two identifications are expressed simultaneously by condensing the parents into a phallic mother or androgynous father, as Shakespeare does at the end of the play. On the “hermaphroditic ideal offered to the world by Christianity” see Ernest Jones, “Holy Ghost Concept,” pp. 367-369. the quoted phrase is on p. 368.

61As if to emphasize the sublimity of Posthumus’ line, Cymbeline next says “how now, my flesh, my child?” Imogen thus embodies heaven and earth, as before she embodied sacred and profane. This is not her literal nature, however, but a wishful idealization in the interest of reconciling opposites.

62Although sound-interpretations can be used to “prove” anything, this is one instance where the sound of a line merges completely with its unconscious “oral” meaning, fusing poetry with character and situation.

63By preambivalent I mean prior to sexual differentiation.

64“The Source of Guilt and the Sense of Guilt: Kafka’s ‘The Trial,’” reprinted in Psychoanalysis and Literature, ed. Hendrik M. Ruitenbeek (New York, 1964), p. 193. E. C. Pettet has recognized the absence of transformation in Cymbeline: “We do not feel that the king overcomes his evil instincts (if he ever had any), and her certainly does not impress us as a figure of regeneration” (Shakespeare and the Romance Traidtion [New York, 1949], p. 192).

65Shakespeare and the Common Understanding (New York, 1967), p. 210.

66Such evasion of ambivalence is discussed in Charles Rycroft’s “On Idealization, Illusion, and Catastrophic Disillusion,” in Imagination and Reality (London, 1968), pp. 29-41.

67“Puzzling Epiphanies,” p. 398

To cite this article, use this bibliographical entry: Murray M. Schwartz "Shakespeare and Psychoanalysis: “Between Fantasy and Imagination A Psychological Exploration of Cymbeline”". PSYART: A Hyperlink Journal for the Psychological Study of the Arts. December 15, 2009. Available http://www.psyartjournal.com/article/show/m_schwartz-shakespeare_and_psychoanalysis_between_f. August 25, 2005 [or whatever date you accessed the article].
Received: January 1, 2005, Published: August 25, 2005. Copyright © 2005 Murray M. Schwartz