Cymbeline

Cymbeline

Iachimo Character Analysis

Read our modern English translation.
Iachimo is a Roman lord and an acquaintance of Posthumus. He is sly and tricky, traits epitomized in his wager with Posthumus over Imogen’s chastity. A womanizer, Iachimo bets Posthumus that he can seduce Imogen in exchange for gold and a ring. He goes to Britain and attempts to win Imogen over with flattery, but when she refuses vehemently, Iachimo pretends he was just testing her loyalty. This illustrates how quick witted Iachimo is in pursuit of what he wants. Iachimo ultimately wins the wager through deception, having snuck into the sleeping Imogen’s bedchamber and observed details about the room and her body, and then stealing the bracelet Posthumus gave her. Despite his successful deception, Iachimo comes to regret his actions, particularly as he returns to Britain to fight with the Romans. By the play’s end, Iachimo repents of his “villainy” and reveals all of his deeds to the British royal family. Like the Queen, he regrets his wickedness, but he lives to confess to those he wronged, and he receives forgiveness from Posthumus, who lets him live on the condition that Iachimo learn to treat people better.

Iachimo Quotes in Cymbeline

The Cymbeline quotes below are all either spoken by Iachimo or refer to Iachimo. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Morality and Loyalty Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Simon & Schuster edition of Cymbeline published in 2003.
Act 1, Scene 4 Quotes

POSTHUMUS
What lady would you choose to assail?

IACHIMO
Yours; whom in constancy you think stands so safe.
I will lay you ten thousand ducats to your ring,
that, commend me to the court where your lady is,
with no more advantage than the opportunity of a
second conference, and I will bring from thence
that honour of hers which you imagine so reserved.

Related Characters: Posthumus Leonatus (speaker), Iachimo (speaker), Imogen/Fidele
Related Symbols: Gold and Jewelry
Page Number: 1.4.122-128
Explanation and Analysis:
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Act 2, Scene 2 Quotes

As slippery as the Gordian knot was hard!
'Tis mine; and this will witness outwardly,
As strongly as the conscience does within,
To the madding of her lord. On her left
A mole cinque-spotted, like the crimson drops
I' the 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. No more. To what end?
Why should I write this down, that's riveted,
Screw'd to my memory? She hath been reading late
The tale of Tereus; here the leaf's turn'd down
Where Philomel gave up. I have enough:
To the trunk again, and shut the spring of it.
Swift, swift, you dragons of the night, that dawning
May bare the raven's eye! I lodge in fear;
Though this a heavenly angel, hell is here.

Related Characters: Iachimo (speaker), Imogen/Fidele , Posthumus Leonatus
Page Number: 2.2.36-52
Explanation and Analysis:
Quotes explanation short mobile
Act 2, Scene 3 Quotes

…I am much sorry, sir,
You put me to forget a lady’s manners,
By being so verbal: and learn now, for all,
That I, which know my heart, do here pronounce,
By the very truth of it, I care not for you,
And am so near the lack of charity—
To accuse myself—I hate you; which I had rather
You felt than make’t my boast.

Related Characters: Imogen/Fidele (speaker), Iachimo
Page Number: 2.3.124-131
Explanation and Analysis:
Quotes explanation short mobile
Act 2, Scene 4 Quotes

…Let there be no honour
Where there is beauty; truth, where semblance; love
Where there’s another man: the vows of women
Of no more bondage be, to where they are made,
Than they are to their virtues; which is nothing.
O, above measure false!

Related Characters: Posthumus Leonatus (speaker), Imogen/Fidele , Iachimo
Page Number: 2.4.140-145
Explanation and Analysis:
Quotes explanation short mobile
Act 5, Scene 2 Quotes

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? Knighthoods and honours, borne
As I wear mine, are titles but of scorn.
If that thy gentry, Britain, go before
This lout as he exceeds our lords, the odds
Is that we scarce are men and you are gods.

Related Characters: Iachimo (speaker)
Related Symbols: Disguise
Page Number: 5.2.1-10
Explanation and Analysis:
Quotes explanation short mobile
Act 5, Scene 5 Quotes

IACHIMO
[Kneeling] I am down again:
But now my heavy conscience sinks my knee,
As then your force did. Take that life, beseech you,
Which I so often owe: but your ring first;
And here the bracelet of the truest princess
That ever swore her faith.

POSTHUMUS LEONATUS
Kneel not to me:
The power that I have on you is, to spare you;
The malice towards you to forgive you: live,
And deal with others better.

CYMBELINE
Nobly doom’d!
We’ll learn our freeness of a son-in-law;
Pardon’s the word to all.

Related Characters: Cymbeline (speaker), Posthumus Leonatus (speaker), Iachimo (speaker)
Related Symbols: Gold and Jewelry
Page Number: 5.5.510-522
Explanation and Analysis:
Quotes explanation short mobile
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Iachimo Character Timeline in Cymbeline

The timeline below shows where the character Iachimo appears in Cymbeline. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Act 1, Scene 4
The Gods and Fate Theme Icon
In Rome, Iachimo—a Roman nobleman whose father was Duke of Siena, and a friend of Philario—describes Posthumus to... (full context)
Nobility Theme Icon
Iachimo thinks that because Posthumus has married the princess Imogen, he will seem more worthy than... (full context)
Nobility Theme Icon
Iachimo asks Philario why he’s planning to host Posthumus. Philario explains that he fought alongside Posthumus’... (full context)
Gender Roles Theme Icon
Imperialism vs. Independence Theme Icon
Curious, Iachimo asks what the fight was about, if it’s not too rude to ask. The Frenchman... (full context)
Gender Roles Theme Icon
Imperialism vs. Independence Theme Icon
While Posthumus holds firm in his opinion, Iachimo doesn’t quite believe him, since he doesn’t think British women are all that good or... (full context)
The Gods and Fate Theme Icon
Nobility Theme Icon
Posthumus tells Iachimo that he is mistaken in the way he looks at the diamond ring through a... (full context)
Morality and Loyalty Theme Icon
Gender Roles Theme Icon
Iachimo says that Posthumus may have his wife’s love now, but he warns Posthumus that while... (full context)
Morality and Loyalty Theme Icon
Balking at Iachimo’s suggestion, Posthumus says that Italy has no such suitor to tempt his wife, and while... (full context)
Morality and Loyalty Theme Icon
Gender Roles Theme Icon
Iachimo says he’ll bet half of his belongings against Posthumus’ ring that he can woo any... (full context)
Gender Roles Theme Icon
Nobility Theme Icon
Philario begs the gentlemen to cease their discussion of a wager, but this only emboldens Iachimo, who wishes he’d bet more. Posthumus asks him to specify which woman he wants to... (full context)
Morality and Loyalty Theme Icon
Gender Roles Theme Icon
...than his ring, since the ring is as precious to him as his own finger. Iachimo takes this as a sign of Posthumus’ fear, and mocks Posthumus being afraid of his... (full context)
Morality and Loyalty Theme Icon
Gender Roles Theme Icon
Provoked, Posthumus says that he’ll lend Iachimo his ring until Iachimo returns from Britain. He says they should draw up a contract... (full context)
The Gods and Fate Theme Icon
Philario says that he won’t allow the bet to happen, but it’s too late. Iachimo swears to the gods that it’s a bet, and that if he doesn’t bring evidence... (full context)
Act 1, Scene 6
Morality and Loyalty Theme Icon
Imogen sees Pisanio coming in with Iachimo, and asks who the stranger is. Pisanio tells her that Iachimo is a Roman gentleman... (full context)
Gender Roles Theme Icon
The Gods and Fate Theme Icon
Iachimo says to himself that Imogen is, on the outside, quite beautiful. If her mind is... (full context)
Morality and Loyalty Theme Icon
Imogen reads aloud Posthumus’ letter praising Iachimo; he writes that Iachimo has a wonderful reputation, and that Posthumus owes Iachimo for his... (full context)
Morality and Loyalty Theme Icon
Offering Imogen thanks, Iachimo asks if men are crazy. He wonders if nature has given them eyes to tell... (full context)
Gender Roles Theme Icon
Iachimo says that sight can’t be faulty, because even monkeys can distinguish beauty between two women.... (full context)
Morality and Loyalty Theme Icon
Gender Roles Theme Icon
Imogen asks Iachimo if Posthumus is well, and Iachimo assures her he is. She asks if he’s happy,... (full context)
Morality and Loyalty Theme Icon
The Gods and Fate Theme Icon
Imogen replies that she hopes her husband isn’t one such man, but Iachimo says that Posthumus isn’t using the gifts the gods gave him well. He says he... (full context)
Morality and Loyalty Theme Icon
Imogen believes Iachimo knows more than he lets on. She asks him to tell her plainly what he... (full context)
Morality and Loyalty Theme Icon
Imogen asks Iachimo to cut off the conversation, but Iachimo insists that he is heartbroken for her sake.... (full context)
Morality and Loyalty Theme Icon
Gender Roles Theme Icon
Forgiveness and Reconciliation Theme Icon
Alarmed, Imogen calls for Pisanio. Iachimo tries to kiss Imogen, but she tells him to go away. She is angry at... (full context)
Morality and Loyalty Theme Icon
Forgiveness and Reconciliation Theme Icon
Mentioning how lucky Posthumus is to have such a wife, Iachimo swears that Imogen is trustworthy and perfectly good. He prays for blessings on Posthumus, and... (full context)
Morality and Loyalty Theme Icon
Then, Iachimo asks Imogen for one small favor. He, Posthumus, and other friends brought a present of... (full context)
Act 2, Scene 2
Morality and Loyalty Theme Icon
The Gods and Fate Theme Icon
...page and leave the candle burning. Imogen says her prayers, but once she falls asleep, Iachimo emerges from the trunk that he had said contained jewels for the Emperor. (full context)
Morality and Loyalty Theme Icon
Gender Roles Theme Icon
Iachimo comments that all other people are sleeping and he likens himself to Tarquin (the infamous... (full context)
Morality and Loyalty Theme Icon
Iachimo observes the bedchamber’s physical layout and prays that Imogen will stay asleep. He steals the... (full context)
Morality and Loyalty Theme Icon
Forgiveness and Reconciliation Theme Icon
Having obtained all his proof, Iachimo observes Imogen’s book: she was reading the story of Tereus and the rape of Philomela.... (full context)
Act 2, Scene 4
Morality and Loyalty Theme Icon
Philario spots Iachimo entering and welcomes him. Posthumus marvels at the speed with which Iachimo returned, and hopes... (full context)
Imperialism vs. Independence Theme Icon
Philario asks Iachimo if Lucius arrived at the British court. Iachimo informs Philario that Cymbeline was still waiting... (full context)
Morality and Loyalty Theme Icon
Posthumus asks Iachimo where the ring is. Iachimo replies that he would travel a long way to enjoy... (full context)
Morality and Loyalty Theme Icon
...needs proof before he concedes defeat. If he doesn’t get that proof, then he’ll fight Iachimo to the death. Iachimo says that his story will confirm the truth of his report. (full context)
Morality and Loyalty Theme Icon
First, Iachimo details Imogen’s bedchamber. He describes the tapestries which illustrate Cleopatra meeting her Roman lover Antony.... (full context)
Morality and Loyalty Theme Icon
Again, Iachimo shows Posthumus the bracelet, and asks him to go pale with shock. Posthumus asks if... (full context)
Morality and Loyalty Theme Icon
Gender Roles Theme Icon
Iachimo swears he got the bracelet from Imogen, which makes Posthumus believe that his story is... (full context)
Morality and Loyalty Theme Icon
Gender Roles Theme Icon
Posthumus takes this as final confirmation that Iachimo has stained Imogen’s honor, and exclaims that Imogen’s sins are as big as any hell... (full context)
Act 2, Scene 5
Morality and Loyalty Theme Icon
Gender Roles Theme Icon
Nobility Theme Icon
Posthumus wonders how long it took for Imogen and Iachimo to go from just meeting to having sex—was it an hour, or less? He imagines... (full context)
Act 3, Scene 4
Morality and Loyalty Theme Icon
...for her husband and lying awake missing him, then she admits she’s unfaithful. Imogen recalls Iachimo’s description of her husband’s infidelity, and thinks that the Italian nobleman isn’t so bad after... (full context)
Act 4, Scene 2
Imperialism vs. Independence Theme Icon
...his troops enter. A captain says that the Roman recruitment effort was a success, and Iachimo will lead the Italian troops to Britain shortly. Lucius takes this as a good sign. (full context)
Act 5, Scene 2
The Gods and Fate Theme Icon
...battle. Dressed up as a poor British soldier, Posthumus enters the stage again, fighting with Iachimo. Posthumus wins the fight, disarms Iachimo, and leaves. (full context)
Morality and Loyalty Theme Icon
Forgiveness and Reconciliation Theme Icon
Nobility Theme Icon
Now that he is back in Britain, Iachimo feels overcome with sadness and guilt for lying about the British princess. He swears that... (full context)
Imperialism vs. Independence Theme Icon
The Gods and Fate Theme Icon
Lucius, Iachimo, and Imogen (still disguised as Fidele) enter. Lucius urges Fidele to run away from the... (full context)
Act 5, Scene 4
Morality and Loyalty Theme Icon
Nobility Theme Icon
...turns the criticism from others to Posthumus himself. He asks Posthumus why he would allow Iachimo to spoil his noble heart and mind with “needless jealousy,” only to be a foolish... (full context)
Act 5, Scene 5
Morality and Loyalty Theme Icon
Imperialism vs. Independence Theme Icon
Lucius, Iachimo, the Soothsayer, and other Romans enter, along with Posthumus and Imogen (still disguised as Fidele).... (full context)
Forgiveness and Reconciliation Theme Icon
Cymbeline invites Fidele to make his demands, and asks Iachimo to step forward. Fidele asks Iachimo where he obtained his ring. The boy’s request puzzles... (full context)
Forgiveness and Reconciliation Theme Icon
...he could reward the peasant soldier. Posthumus reveals that he himself was that soldier, asking Iachimo to back him up, as they confronted each other on the battlefield. Iachimo kneels and... (full context)