At the end of Shakespeare's Cymbeline, the villainous Iachimo unravels the sordid details ofhis scheme to convince Posthumus that he has "enjoyed the dearest bodily part of [his] mistress," and Posthumus is struck with the horrible realization that he has commanded the murder ofhis innocent wife (1.4.40-1). Referring to his wife as a "temple / of virtue," Posthumus laments that he has destroyed Imogen's physical body, a holy space that contained a pure and righteous spirit. To his great relief, he discovers moments later that his wife is still alive and that the beauty ofboth her body and her spirit has not been marred.
English Language and Literature
Williams '98, Nicole, ""Who is't can read a woman?": Shakespeare's Cymbeline and the Renaissance Woman" (1998). Honors Projects. Paper 9.