I'm trying to remember a quote I read from a Shakespeare book, but it has been at least 10 years so my memory of it is quite low.

The little I remember is a man that is trying to hide enters a woman's room. Somehow she helps him, but for a cost, which prompts the hero to mentions something about she saves him but punishes him at the same time.

EDIT: After reading the answers and comments on this post, I recollect that the punishment described by the hero would be in the form of a new role he has to perform for the woman (for example, a servant).

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    I am afraid it doesn't ring a bell. It sounds vaguely like something out of Measure for Measure, where Angelo visits a woman in her bedroom in the dark, having been misled as to her identity. I don't believe we actually get to witness the scene: characters hiding in rooms isn't really a Shakespearean trope. Sep 25, 2018 at 16:26
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    The Merry Wives of Windsor? Mistress Ford hides Falstaff in a laundry basket so he can escape her husband’s ire, but then dumps the contents of the basket (including Falstaff) into the river.
    – verbose
    Sep 26, 2018 at 1:39
  • @verbose I don't think the buck basket was in the woman's room, though. At least, not if "woman's room" is supposed to mean "bedroom".
    – Tsundoku
    Sep 26, 2018 at 18:02

2 Answers 2


This sounds like a misremembered version of Cymbeline, one of Shakespeare's last plays. This play contains a scene where someone hides in a woman's room. Here's a quote from the Wikipedia article (emphasis added):

Posthumus must now live in Italy, where he meets Iachimo (or Giacomo), who challenges the prideful Posthumus to a bet that he, Iachimo, can seduce Imogen, who Posthumus has praised for her chastity, and then bring Posthumus proof of Imogen's adultery. If Iachimo wins, he will get Posthumus's token ring. If Posthumus wins, not only must Iachimo pay him but also fight Posthumus in a duel with swords. Iachimo heads to Britain where he aggressively attempts to seduce the faithful Imogen, who sends him packing. Iachimo then hides in a chest in Imogen's bedchamber and, when the princess falls asleep, emerges to steal from her Posthumus's bracelet. He also takes note of the room and Imogen's partly naked body to be able to present false evidence to Posthumus that he has seduced his bride.

At the end of the play, Imogen's father, King Cymbeline, forgives Iachimo, and Imogen can marry Posthumus. So I am not sure where the part about the woman saving the man comes from.

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    Ah, Cymbelline. One of only two Shakespeare plays I haven't done. That's why I didn't recognize it. Props. Sep 26, 2018 at 16:17

Yes, sounds like “Cymbeline” with something else thrown in, such as the scene in “The Merchant of Venice” in which Portia appears as a “doctor”or philosopher called Balthazar.

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    Could you please explain why the other scene matches the question, and why you think this combination is especially good at matching the question?
    – bobble
    Oct 21, 2022 at 15:12
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