Sorry for not responding sooner here you got lost in the shuffle.
I would first try if you can boot up in Safe Mode. Here's an Apple T/N that explains it: Try safe mode if your Mac doesn‘t finish starting up.
If that fails I think your drive may have a deeper issue here. Do you have access to a second Mac system which you can either connect to your iMac in Target Disk Mode or can create a bootable USB thumb drive so try booting it up that way? To see if we can get the system to boot up and fix your drive (after copying off your important files). Here is a Apple T/N that goes over how to setup Target Disk Mode: Share files between two computers with target disk mode & here is how to setup a bootable USB drive: Create an emergency Mac OS X boot disk from a USB flash drive
The other alternative here is to remove the drive from the system and then using this: Universal Drive Adapter which will allow you to connect your drive to a second Mac system. Here is the IFIXIT guide to pull the drive: iMac Intel 20" EMC 2133 and 2210 Hard Drive Replacement
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