(Hey, relationships are confusing.) When Coriolanus finds out Rome is going to war with the Volsces, he says "They have a leader, / Tullus Aufidius [ ] I sin in. Coriolanus and Aufidius were enemies because they were on opposing can a relationship as intense as the one they have morph into an alliance, . all the comparisons between Coriolanus and a hero or god figure come. Shakespeare's Coriolanus: An insight into Homo-Social Relationships It is the confiding, even erotic relationship between Caius Marcius and Aufidius, however , . Behold, the heavens do ope, The gods look down, and this unnatural scene.
Brutus shares power with Sicinius Velutus, another legendary tribune, but since they are very similar characters who always appear together except for a brief final appearance by Sicinius in 5. The tribunes represent the common people's share in political power, and they reject their foe, the aristocratic Roman warrior Coriolanus. They enjoy their triumph, but when the exiled Coriolanus attacks Rome, the tribunes deny their responsibility; 'Say not we brought it' 4.
The shortsightedness of the tribunes' campaign against Coriolanus certainly threatens the city. They are an example of the dangers that result when power is accorded to the common people an important theme of the play. At the same time,' however, they are concerned with the health of the city.
Their offices were created as a result of the corn riots that open the play. The riots are attributed to the arrogance of Coriolanus and the other aristocrats in the face of the common people's hunger. When Coriolanus contemptuously asks Brutus, 'What do you prate of service?
NovelGuide: Coriolanus: Essay Q&A
Indeed, he seems to attempt more service for his people than does the foolish and treacherous warrior for his fellow aristocrats. Nevertheless the tribunes have a chiefly negative significance in'the play's political world, for in a properly run society—as Shakespeare conceived it—the common people would follow the leadership of their social superiors, and have no tribunes.
However, Coriolanus' pride has promoted social disruption, of which the tribunes are a result. Though the story of Coriolanus is entirely legendary, Brutus may have been a real person.
In any case, Plutarch's Sicinius is otherwise unknown in Roman legend, unless he is identifiable with Lucius Sicinius Dentatus, who appears in other sources and is said to have represented the plebeians, though at a somewhat later period. After Corionanus has been banished, he joins the Volscians and threatens Rome with destruction. His mother and wife go to beg him to desist, and they bring the Boy with them. Coriolanus addresses his son with a brief homily of the warrior's honor that he himself has lost: The Boy speaks only once.
With both courage and good sense, he declares that his father 'shall not tread on me. Eventually—at the play's climactic turning point—he does indeed surrender to their influence, to which the Boy has added his share.
The Boy is described in 1. This image is effectively reprised when Menenius describes the fearful approach of the Volscians—led by Coriolanus—who advance confidently, like 'boys pursuing summer butterflies' 4. The image contributes to the anti-war theme that runs through the play. In honour of his extraordinary bravery in taking the city of Corioles, he is to be known henceforth as Coriolanus. The Herald speaks five grandiose lines and concludes with the cry, 'Welcome to Rome, renowned Coriolanus!
Shakespeare provided the Herald to lend an air of pomp and circumstance to Coriolanus' reception. This heightens the dramatic irony when this same reception turns ugly later in the same act.
Aufidius is the oft-defeated rival of Coriolanus, and he vows that he will overcome him by dishonorable means, since he cannot win in com- bat. Therefore, when Coriolanus deserts Rome and joins the Volscians, Aufidius schemes to kill him. After Coriolanus is dissuaded by Volumnia from sacking Rome, Aufidius accuses him of treachery, and the Conspirators stab the Roman to death in the play's final scene. The playwright's villain is a warped mirror image of his protagonist.
Aufidius focusses directly on Coriolanus throughout the play, and neither man can forget the other for long. Like Coriolanus—though without his political difficulties—Aufidius is first and foremost a charismatic warrior, motivated by wholly personal, indeed, egotistical drives, and obsessively concerned with his own achievements. When Coriolanus joins the Volscians, the fellowship of warriors leads Aufidius to welcome his rival with the warmth of a lover.
The extraordinary sensuality of this passage offers bizarre evidence of the misplaced emotional thrust engendered by warrior culture. Frustrated, Aufidius decides to defeat Coriolanus dishonouably, and his grandeur becomes that of a villain rather than a great warrior. He undergoes this change in Act 1, after the siege of Corioles and he admits that his effort 'Hath not that honour m't it had' 1.
In this respect he is a foil to Coriolanus, whose failing is that his pride will not permit him to sacrifice any aspect of his warrior's persona. Also, when compared with the treachery of Aufidius, Coriolanus' betrayal of Rome seems the lesser villainy.
However, after he has killed Coriolanus, Aufidius resumes something of his earlier nobility when he acknowledges his enemy's greatness. He grants him a warrior's funeral and declares, 'he shall have a noble memory' 5. He speaks only half a line in reply, in a episode whose purpose is to tell that the town has been captured.
Lieutenant is a follower of Aufidius. He regrets that Aufidius has permitted Coriolanus to command troops, because Aufidius is becoming overshadowed. The Lieutenant furthers the play's development with these remarks, for they inform us of Coriolanus' successes and spark Aufidius' hostile replies, which foreshadow the play's concluding episode. Conspirators Conspirators are followers of Aufidius. They encourage him in his anger and point out that Coriolanus is overshadowing him.
When Aufidius accuses his enemy of treason, they lead the mob in demanding Coriolanus' death, a demand they then fulfill by killing him with their swords. Though the conspirators are designated First, Second, and Third, they are indistinguishable from each other, and their speeches are divisions of a single voice.
The Conspirators help to illuminate one of the play's principal themes: On the other hand, because they encourage—even goad—Aufidius to kill Coriolanus in such an ignominious fashion, they also help demonstrate the inadequacies of the warrior class. Citizen Citizen is a resident of Antium. In three brief lines the Citizen directs Coriolanus to the home of Aufidius. He serves merely to advance the plot. Volumnia an aristocratic Roman matron, has raised her son to be a proud warrior above all else.
She dominates her son for she has so thoroughly bred her own values in him that he is psychologically dependent on her approval and cannot oppose her. This is one of Shakespeare's most Machiavellian passages—3. However because Coriolanus is what Volumnia has made him' he cannot restrain his proud contempt, with the result that he is banished from Rome.
When he joins the Volscians, Rome's enemy, and threatens to sack the city, Volumnia again uses her influence over him with an elaborate appeal in 5. She convinces him to withdraw his forces, though he knows this means he will be killed by the Volscians.
Volumnia controls her son by withdrawing her approval: While her advice to him is sound it is only necessary because her influence has made him incapable of functioning sensibly. Because he has only the rigorous pride she has developed in him, he goes to his destruction.
He is a tragic hero precisely because his greatness is mingled with his weakness. He is incapable of being anything except what his mother has made him. The influence of Volumnia is thus central to the play. Volumnia is correct when she boasts to Coriolanus Thou art my warrior: Her upbringing of him has made him both the charismatic warrior who becomes a great Roman hero and the inflexible aristocrat who sparks the hatred of the Roman people.
Her rigorous martial code is revealed on her first appearance, in 1. She sternly rejects the concern for his safety displayed by his wife Virgilia, and rejoices in the prospect of her son's wounds, or even his death, for the sufferings of war are badges of honor to her mind.
On the second occasion, after Coriolanus has allied himself to Aufidius, Volumnia persuades him not to attack Rome. Coriolanus again does as she tells him, thereby betraying his alliance with the Volscians and his duty as a military commander.
Again, as he does Volumnia's will, he is aware of the fatal seriousness of his self-betrayal. In relation to his mother, this otherwise almost invincible warrior has remained immature, a child.
NovelGuide: Coriolanus: Essay Q&A | Novelguide
When Aufidius attacks him as a "boy of tears" V. It is emblematic of Volumnia's dominance over her son that it is she, not Coriolanus, who is hailed as the savior of Rome after she persuades him not to attack the city. He, in contrast, must return to Corioli to give an account of his actions to the Volscians, where he is killed by the envious Aufidius's band of Conspirators, and Aufidius treads on his corpse. Volumnia survives, and it is tempting to speculate that she would "dine out" on her son's reputation for years to come.
Analyze the role of the plebeians in the play. Coriolanus is set at a time in history when Rome was in transition from a monarchy to a republic. The plebeians were engaged in a power struggle with the traditional rulers, the patricians. This situation was reflected in the struggle between monarch and Parliament in England during the reign of King James Iwho was monarch at the time Shakespeare was thought to have written Coriolanus.
Hence the plebeians' behavior in the play comments on political events in Shakespeare's time. The plebeians are portrayed as fundamentally good-hearted, as they are at first willing to overlook Coriolanus's pride in respect to his reputation as a war hero. However, they are also portrayed as irrational, dangerously fickle, and incapable of thinking for themselves. Influenced by the manipulations of the tribunes, Brutus and Sicinius, they are easily persuaded to withdraw their support of Coriolanus and are soon demanding his death.
Then, when news comes of an imminent attack on Rome by Coriolanus and the Volscians, they claim that they never wanted him banished. The Volscian citizens are similarly fickle, first hailing Coriolanus as a hero after he makes peace with Rome, and then, under the influence of Aufidius's Conspirators, crying out for his death. The overall impression of the plebeians is that they are unfit to govern.
This is also true of their representatives, the tribunes Brutus and Sicinius. They are cynical, self-serving men whose chief concern is to escape the consequences of their actions, as when they tell the plebeians to falsely inform Coriolanus that they, the tribunes, were on his side all along. More importantly, when the Volscians are preparing to attack Rome, neither the tribunes nor the plebeians have any solutions, having banished the one person who could have helped them - the great soldier, Coriolanus.
However, in line with the ambiguities of the play, it is possible that the plebeians do their class a great favor when they banish Coriolanus.
Given his excessive pride and contemptuous attitude to the plebeians, it is difficult to see how he could be anything but a disastrous consul who would only increase divisions between the patricians and plebeians. But if the plebeians do right by themselves in getting rid of Coriolanus, it is more by accident than considered judgment, which they are never seen to exercise.
Analyze the relationship between Coriolanus and Aufidius. At the beginning of the play, Coriolanus and Aufidius are sworn enemies, though each admires the other. They are both great generals and committed to martial valor, but Aufidius is not Coriolanus's equal: This rankles with Aufidius.
In Act I, scene x, after his fifth defeat at Coriolanus's hands, Aufidius swears that should they meet again, one of them will die, and that he will get revenge by any means, fair or foul. This foreshadows Aufidius's eventual decision to betray Coriolanus.
When Coriolanus is banished from Rome, he throws himself on Aufidius's mercy and offers to ally himself with his former enemy against his birth land.
Aufidius is moved, and his hostility turns to an intense love and submissive adoration of Coriolanus, with a strong homoerotic undertone. Rather say I play The man I am. Though faced against one another numerous times in battle, Marcius and Aufidius share a greater similarity with one another, than with their own respective populaces. This likeness between the two men, even leads to the materialization of an erotic disposition: More dances my rapt heart Than when I first my wedded mistress saw 4.
The amatory language provides a Klick 5 heightened sense of brotherhood between the two men. What have you done? Behold, the heavens do ope, The gods look down, and this unnatural scene They laugh at.
O my mother, mother! You have won a happy victory to Rome 5. He acknowledges the paradoxical nature of his situation, but finally resolves to peacefully end his vindictive campaign against Rome. This undeniable debt to Volumnia is conceivably the only force strong enough to pull Marcius from his exultant life with the Volsci, having already turned down the begging of his friend and Roman Senator Menenius with little emotion.
The Volscian general mercifully gave him refuge in his exile, provided him with an army to lead, and extended his love to Marcius, only to be turned down on the brink of victory. Jealousy arises upon Aufidius, and he becomes blind to the love and trust he once held for Marcius.