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Shakespeare's Coriolanus

They argue that he will only serve his own ends or those of the patrician aristocracy and not theirs. The people retract their offer to Coriolanus and he condemns them as rabble. They condemn him as a traitor. As Harold Bloom (1998) notes, 'From Caius Marcius's perspective, the common people of Rome deserve neither bread nor circuses. In their view, he is a menace to their survival' (578).

Coriolanus refuses to attend a peace-making meeting set up by Menenius Agrippa, but in significant foreshadowing of his ultimate fate, his mother persuades him to attend the meeting. Coriolanus's pride is wounded, believing great warriors like he should not be treated to appeasing the common crowd. Coriolanus's great flaw is that as well-equipped as he is as a warrior, he is as ill-equipped to be a statesman. He is ill-equipped because he has been nurtured by his mother to be a peerless warrior, which he is, but he is not suited for anything else because his pride in that fact makes him lack any compassion for others. So, too, it leaves him with little skills to cope successfully in any situation other than the battlefield. Coriolanus lacks Menenius's good will and humor in dealing with the crowd. Coriolanus finds it incredible anyone would court the favor of the crowd he finds fickle. He detests having to solicit the favor of common voters, claiming it would be 'better to starve', and he finds the trappings of politics beneath him, like being forced to wear white robes. Bloom (1998) maintains that he is his own enemy with respect to politics, but that it stems from his mother's influence over him, designed only to make him a warrior, 'He is more his own enemy than he is theirs, and his tragedy is not the consequence of their fear and anger, but of his own nature and nurture' (578).

The meeting does not go well when the tribunes of the people renew their charges against Coriolanus and instigate the crowd to anger against him. Cori...

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Shakespeare's Coriolanus. (1969, December 31). In Retrieved 21:32, September 20, 2017, from
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