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Transcript of Coriolanus
-There are some role-reversals; basically, the role that, for example, Volumnia plays is opposite that of a traditional Roman woman.
-Also, women are an indirect cause to the tragedy of the play. Mother and Father Wife of Silence Bibliography: -Teaches and encourages Coriolanus to be
violent and devoid of emotion. -Encourages war wounds, saying they are the signs of "nobility and manhood" Shakespeare and Coriolanus Coriolanus vs. Anthony and Cleopatra -Coriolanus depicts an internal conflict--> the enemy resides within them
-Characters in Coriolanus are static and do not have control over their own destinies Shakespeare's Coriolanus Mentality Coriolanus depicts Shakespeare's loss of faith and hope in the political reality near the end of his life. It also portrays Shakespeare's dismayed awareness of the fate of moral goodness in the world. Coriolanus disparages mankind and the typical 'heroic qualities', which only lead to Coriolanus' downfall. Shakespeare's loss of faith in society can be seen, as it depicts the hopelessness of heroism and self-fulfillment in the world. The only possibility better than political reality is death. Plot Summary Caius Martius Coriolanus is a general who earned his name in battle fighting the Voltians single-handedly. He hates the plebeians, but tries to become the consul. When the people refuse, he becomes enraged. He is then exiled. For revenge, he joins the Voltians to attack Rome, but he givens in to his mother Volumnia's request not to. Rome celebrates, but the Voltians kill Coriolanus for betraying them. Politics in Coriolanus Set in early Rome (~500 B.C.) History of Roman Gov't Early Rome was small and had to engage in battles to defend itself from invasions
Rome started with 7 kings, who had considerable but not absolute power
A council assisted the kings in making decisions
The republic was formed in early 500 B.C.
Military generals were favored to win offices, like consulship Patricians vs Plebeians Patricians from a few wealthy families
Conflict started early, even before the Republic was formed
Coriolanus hates the plebeians, asking for their approval nearly kills him
Plebeians can be considered Coriolanus' enemy
Plebeians have a reason to rebel--fear of tyranny--different from other tragedies
Political: Monarch vs the people Coriolanus' flaws Coriolanus is a lion, but not a fox
He acts rashly and recklessly
Volumnia convinces him to run for consulship by likening war and politics, both requiring stragedy. But Coriolanus acts without strategy, even in battle. His military feats are of physical, not mental, strength.
His "unpolitical-ness" causes him to lose the consulship when the tribunes outsmart him politically
It eventually costs him his life as he recklessly decides to turn on Rome Loyalty: loyalty to himself vs loyalty to Rome. Either one Coriolanus chooses won't end well, contrary to Volumnia's arguments
"O my mother, mother! O!/ You have won a happy victory to Rome;/ But for your son--believe it, O believe it--/Most dangerously you have with him prevailed,/ If not most mortal to him (5.3.186-190)
Honor: Coriolanus' sense of honor is in the action himself, while others' is the praise and benefit he will get
"Rome is an idea for Coriolanus, the idea of honor, and paradoxically that idea has led him to reject the state which had been its avatar" (Rabkin) Loyalty and Honor Prince Henry of Wales Coriolanus 1594-1612 Shakespeare 1564-1616 Virgilia barely speaks throughout the play and has no direct influence on her husband. Coriolanus as a
Tragic Hero Models Herculean
God Arrogant Tyrant Honorable Warrior Young Idealist The Tyrant Unapproachable Protagonist
Egotism under the mask of humility
Unsympathetic towards the masses
Arrogant and Reckless
Considered by some as on of "the worst Shakespearean Tragedies" The Warrior Opinions are elicited from other Characters as Soliloquies are inappropriate for this play
Menenius and even Brutus praise Coriolanus for his war achievements and heroic actions
Shakespeare removes the negative remarks of the original author Plutarch.
Fought for Rome but received ingratitude
Mercy vs Honor, the ultimate test Herculean God Feel superiority, repels sympathy, easily enraged
Rejects everything that he does not believe in, despite surrounded by lesser voices
Violent denunciation for betraying plebeians
Controlled by mother - the prime antagonist?
Defeat of a man of principle The Idealist Young man bound to mother
Standing firmly to his beliefs - Integrity
Misunderstanding of Reality
"If I can be outstanding, why can't be people around me be too?"
Tries to destroy the Rome he could not make virtuous.
Grows up in his decision to accept the faults of others She is often silent and her emotions have no bearing on her husband. -Plays more of the role of a father, one of authority and influence.