Study Guide

Cymbeline, King of Britain Act 1, Scene 7

By William Shakespeare

Act 1, Scene 7

Read the full text of Cymbeline Act 1 Scene 7 with a side-by-side translation HERE.


  • Imogen sits alone in her room and feels sorry for herself. For those keeping track, she has a cruel dad, a fake stepmother, a foolish suitor, and a banished husband. Her life sucks.
  • Pisanio enters with Iachimo—and, more importantly, with a letter from her beloved Posthumus.
  • Imogen is excited to get the letter and welcomes Iachimo for bringing it.
  • Iachimo is floored by Imogen's hotness. He didn't see that coming; in fact, he's worried that if this woman is as smart as she is pretty, he'll lose the bet.
  • But Iachimo doesn't give up that easily. He compliments Imogen, but she doesn't seem to care, so he sends Pisanio away to tend to his own servant.
  • Iachimo figures that if he's alone with Imogen, he can entice her.
  • Imogen asks about Posthumus. She wants to know about his health and his demeanor, and she wants to know how he's holding up in exile.
  • Iachimo's all like, "Oh, he's holding up all right. And then some." He says Posthumus isn't sad at all; in fact, he's having loads of fun... a little too much fun with the ladies, if you catch his drift.
  • Imogen doesn't believe it at first, but then she feels sad and tells Iachimo to stop. She doesn't want to hear any more.
  • This is exactly what Iachimo wants. He tells the princess she should get back at her husband for forgetting about her so quickly.
  • Imogen doesn't follow. How's she going to get her revenge?
  • Iachimo is more direct this time. He tells Imogen that he dedicates himself to her "sweet pleasure"—in other words, he'll sacrifice himself so that she can get back at Posthumus in the cruelest way. How noble of him.
  • Imogen is horrified. She calls Iachimo out on his schemes to sleep with her. He's not honorable at all: he's no better than a "saucy stranger," she says, and she condemns him. Boo-ya.
  • There's nothing left for Iachimo to do but agree with Imogen: he tells her she is the most virtuous woman he's ever met. Oh, and that whole ruse to get her into bed? That was a test, of course. He was trying to seduce her to see if she was honest. Right.
  • Luckily, Iachimo says, Imogen passed the test.
  • Imogen finally accepts the apology, after loads of excessive begging from Iachimo.
  • Iachimo tells Imogen that he is in business with her husband and a bunch of other men. Together, he says, they've pooled their money to buy some lavish gifts for the emperor. There's just one problem: they need somewhere safe to store them.
  • Imogen says she'll take care of them. Iachimo is relieved. The gifts are in a trunk, and he's worried that the jewels are so valuable that people will want to steal them.
  • Imogen tells Iachimo not to worry: she won't let the trunk out of her sight. In fact, she'll store the trunk in her bedchamber so that no one else can touch it.
  • Iachimo thinks this is an excellent idea.
  • We're not exactly sure what the whole trunk business is about, since we know Posthumus and Iachimo haven't bought any grand gifts for the emperor. What we are sure of is that Iachimo is up to something.

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