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by: William Shakespeare

Act I, scenes iii-iv; Act II, scenes i-ii

Iachimo is not interested in real havoc, and the scene in Imogen's bedchamber reinforces his status as a sympathetic villain. The scheme with the trunk is absurd--it is impossible to imagine a great Shakespearean villain stooping to such a clumsy trick--and it leads to a scene that in another play might be terrifying, rich as it is with overtones of rape. But Iachimo's imagination, while somewhat fiendish, is not wholly depraved: He looks at the half-naked Imogen only in order to find a birthmark that he can use later in his deception. The contrast here is with the play's real villain, the savage, stupid, and lustful Cloten, whose main goal is to possess Imogen by whatever means necessary. Iachimo here is offered the opportunity that Cloten desires, but he does not take it; he pursues his schemes for the sheer thrill of living dangerously and not for any darker motives.