Kil-rye, a young girl from an upper-class family that has seen better days, is married off for money to the deceased son of a local magnate named Mr. Kim. Mrs. Kim (Moon Jeong-suk), intending to glorify her family by m...展开aking Kil-rye a renowned "widow of virtue," keeps her new daughter-in-law preoccupied with myriad household chores. However, Kil-rye (Won Mi-kyeong) grows up and has a chance encounter that brings about her sexual awakening. She has repeated physical relations with Han-seong, who, much like herself, has been playing the part of widower to Mr. Kim's dead daughter. When Mr. Kim finds out, he kicks Kil-rye out of the house, but gives her the opportunity to start a new life with Yun-bo (Shin Il-ryong), a servant in Mr. Chae's household. As a servant for Mr. Chae alongside her new husband, Kil-ryelives a happy life despite her fallen social status. But when Mr. Chae begins repeatedly violating Kil-rye, Yun-bo kills his master and runs away with his wife. Some time later, Yun-bo discovers that his family, whom he believed to have been exterminated by the government, has been restored. He reunites with his parents, taking his wife with him. Overnight, Kil-rye goes from a lowly servant to the daughter-in-law of influential Official Yun. But the luxury is short-lived: when she fails to conceive a child after more than three years, Kil-rye and her husband are plunged into anxiety. When the problem turns out to be on Yun-bo's side, Kil-rye is forced to sleep with another man in order to produce a son to continue the family name. On the day her son is presented to Official Yun's ancestors at the family burial ground, Kil-rye receives a silver blade from her husband and hangs herself.