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Tragedy of Coriolanus

3.67 of 5 stars 3.67  ·  rating details  ·  7,166 ratings  ·  366 reviews
This generously annotated edition of Coriolanus offers a thorough reconsideration of Shakespeare's remarkable, and probably his last, tragedy. A substantial introduction situates the play within its contemporary social and political contexts and presents a fresh account of how the protagonist's personal tragedy evolves within Shakespeare's most searching exploration of the ...more
Paperback, Folger Shakespeare Library, 0 pages
Published November 1st 1983 by Washington Square Pr (first published 1608)
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Bill  Kerwin

I not only really like Shakespeare's Coriolanus: I also like the man Coriolanus as he is revealed in the play. Sure, he may be a hothead, an arrogant bully, an immature mama's boy with a proto-fascist personality, but he is also a man of extraordinary physical courage and sincere personal modesty who would like nothing better than to do his warrior's duty and be left alone.

Unfortunately, though, his mother--whose values are also those of the Roman republic--sees her son's patrician duty as incl

There are many gods, and when we organize and rank them we go too far, we ask too much of them.

- "Women and Men", Joseph McElroy

I am certain that had this play been written by anyone other than Shakespeare it would be venerated as a major work; performed and discussed perhaps in the way Hamlet, King Lear or Macbeth are. Written late in The Bard's career (it is the last of the Tragedies and the Histories), Coriolanus is his work that might be the most relevant and relatable to our modern world.

Let the first budger die the other’s slave,
And the gods doom him after.
- Caius Marcius Coriolanus

Shakespeare turns to 5th century BC Roman history for a deeply serious drama depicted in combat scenes between fierce enemies, conflicts between patricians and the plebeians, and contrasting perspectives within family. His treatment of war, statesmen, citizens and family life is surprisingly unusual in that the common denominator in all, the hero, is motivated by a powerful mother-son dynamic.

Jeannette Nikolova
I don't have much to say about Shakespeare that hasn't already been said, and I don't feel worthy of even trying, but essentially, I think Coriolanus has a lot to offer in therms of psychology, especially psychology of the masses. It is hard trying to analyze something that has already been written about in many textbooks, but for me, at least, Coriolanus's leitmotif is the herd behavior. Of course, there are many other sub ideas, but the most interesting thing to read about was the way society ...more
From face to foot,
He was a thing of blood, whose every motion
Was timed with dying cries.

I recently went to see the Donmar Warehouse production of this play, so of course I read it beforehand. The production was excellent and only heightened my appreciation of it.

Reading this I started out a little weary. It’s one of the lesser known Shakespeare plays, and I’d never heard of it until I found out about the Donmar Warehouse show, so I had no idea even what it was really about. But as I read I k
This play made me realize how good Shakespeare really is. I had honestly never heard of "Coriolanus", and I picked it up to read because the National Theatre Live is broadcasting it live on January 30, 2014.

I have read a few of the basic Shakespeare plays - "Hamlet", "Macbeth", "A Midsummer Night's Dream", "Julius Caesar" - the usual suspects. The problem is that I already knew how they would end, more or less. I don't remember a time in my life when I didn't know the plot and ending of "Romeo
Bryn Hammond
I'm told Coriolanus, the person, is unlikeable, but I happen to like him. I don't even think he's a right-wing bastard, just shy, awkward and misunderstood. It's his severe self-effacement that makes him hate publicity. Who wants to stand in the market and exhibit your wounds in a stupid political stunt? And his thickheadedness, the fact he has no idea when to use that soldierly bluntness and when to keep his trap shut, is a naivety I like against the politics of Rome. He's a soldier, yes, but a ...more
Caius Marcius Coriolanus on the public he would rule:

He that will give good words to thee will flatter
Beneath abhorring. What would you have, you curs,
That like nor peace nor war? the one affrights you,
The other makes you proud. He that trusts to you,
Where he should find you lions, finds you hares;
Where foxes, geese: you are no surer, no,
Than is the coal of fire upon the ice,
Or hailstone in the sun.

The fires i’ th’ lowest hell fold in the people!

His opponents the demagogic tribunes, tho
In anticipation of the release of a new filmed version of Coriolanus, I reread the play in Dec 2011.

It remains a difficult play to enjoy, and I'm going to retain my 2-star rating - it's OK compared to other Shakespeare plays.

The protagonist is an arrogant, spoiled, immature patrician whose disgust for Rome's plebeians is so manifest and violent that his enemies easily manipulate the citizens into banishing him. He flies to his chief enemy, Tullus Aufidius, the leader of the Volsces, and returns
Shakespeare's Coriolanus is both noble and so stiff-necked that he cannot compromise his principles -- and this at a time when tribunes have been chosen to represent the common people that the Roman hero professes to loathe. Despite his heroic victories in the best, the tribunes have him exiled, whereupon he goes straight to Tullus Aufidius of the Volsces, Rome's most bitter enemy. Invading Rome with Aufidius, Coriolanus is stopped dead in his tracks only by his mother Volumnia and his wife and ...more
Donmar Warehouse in Covent Garden is setting up this play in December and January, starring Tom Hiddleston (Loki in Avengers, Capt. Nicholls in War Horse, loveliest guy in the world), Hadley Fraser (a number of roles in Les Mis, Raoul in Phantom of the Opera) and Mark Gatiss (Mycroft in BBC's Sherlock), and honestly, how could we resist? The tickets sold out in 20 minutes, and with that lineup it is completely understandable. We are seeing this in early January and can't wait. Expectations are h ...more

Never has Shakespeare entertained me so much. He has confounded me, interrogated me and mirrored me but never has he handed me a summer Hollywood blockbuster - a chilling and thrilling script of violent tragedy stoking societal passions from all sides.

Despite the gripping plot, I tried to focus on Caius Marcius' character. As in all of Shakespeare's plays, the characteristics of a hero or villain shape the play and bend our sympathies - not the action or twisting storylines. Through this rea
Shakespeare, in my opinion, really is the dog's bollocks.

I decided to read this (for the first time) before I see the new film version directed by and starring Ralph Fiennes opening this weekend. However, I was not prepared to be so bowled over by the sheer poetry of the master playwright WS. Reading the Bard, one is constantly reminded of the richness of the English language.

The character of Coriolanus is frustratingly macho and stubborn which ultimately leads to his downfull, for tragedy this
Seeing as I read this for class, I cannot give a review based solely upon my feelings for it, as it is not a story that I would have willingly picked up anyway. However, I will say that (for the most part) it seems to be "historically" accurate. I use quotations, because the history used to write it was undoubtedly Plutarch's account, which may or may not have been accurate. I will give Shakespeare much credit for including many of the minute details of Plutarch's account.

Personally, I was incr
Caius Marcius Coriolanus is a flawed character. He can be angry:

'You common cry of curs! whose breath I hate
As reek o' the rotten fens, whose loves I prize
As the dead carcasses of unburied men
That do corrupt my air - I banish you;
And here remain with your uncertainty!
Let every feeble rumour shake your hearts!
Your enemies, with nodding of their plumes,
Fan you into despair! Have the power still
To banish your defenders; till at length
Your ignorance, - which finds not till it feels, -
Making not your
O Marcius, Marcius!
Each word thou hast spoke hath weeded from my heart
A root of ancient envy. If Jupiter
Should from yond cloud speak divine things,
And say ‘Tis true,’ I’ld not believe them more
Than thee, all noble Marcius. Let me twine
Mine arms about that body, where against
My grained ash an hundred times hath broke
And scarr’d the moon with splinters: here I clip
The anvil of my sword, and do contest
As hotly and as nobly with thy love
As ever in ambitious strength I did
Contend against thy
David Sarkies
Jun 10, 2014 David Sarkies rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Shakespeare Lovers
Shelves: tragedy
Generals do not make good politicians
7 November 2013

This is a story about a General who is thrust into the world of politics, namely because he was such a good general. However, while he happpens to be a great general, as a politician he positively sucks. Basically, Gaius Marcius' main flaw (despite the fact that I don't believe in fatal flaws) is that he simply speaks his mind, which is a noble characteristic is most professions, but not in politics. To put it bluntly, Marcius (aka Coriolanus,
Stuart Aken
Ah, the Bard. I’m gradually sifting through his works, reading for the sheer pleasure of his language. Coriolanus is one of his tragedies, of course. That it’s been recently filmed, (not that I’ve seen the movie) is a surprise only in that it’s a play begging to be made into a film. With the violence, treachery, wonderfully flawed hero and the battle scenes, it’s a plot made for Hollywood.

The tragedy of the eponymous hero is his combination of social pride and an inability to understand the diff
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Mar 10, 2011 Núria rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: los que sufren de complejo de Edipoo los que no soportan la hipocresia
(10.03.2010: Esta reseña la escribí hace casi siete años. Creo que ahora diría esencialmente lo mismo, pero lo escribiría de forma ligeramente distinta.)

(01.08.2004)'Coriolano' es una de las mejores obras de Shakespeare. Aunque en un principio me pareció que la temática de la obra no me diría nada en particular, al acabar me di cuenta de que es una de las obras de Shakespeare con las que tengo más afinidades. Primero, porque habla de enfrentamientos entre patricios y el pueblo y da una visión mu
Who knew this even existed? I had heard of it before but never thought I'd get around to reading it until I was forced to for class. It's actually a great play, and I consider it to be better than Julius Caesar, though obviously not as well known.

The manipulations of the plebians, patricians, and everyone in between are fascinating and much better done than those in Caesar, and the characters are better written, in my opinion. I find it intriguing that the celebrated hero of Rome can crumble to
According to the introduction of this text, Coriolanus is put forth as an unlikeable character, one who it is impossible to sympathize with. I find that to be a load of crap. (Yes, this is a v. serious review of Shakespeare.)

The character of Coriolanus is one I find compelling, and throughout the whole play I hoped for the best for him. They say it is bad that he is too proud to ask the people for their support of his consul-ship, but I think it speaks to the strength of his character that he r
За един воин всичко започва и завършва с него самия!
Карлос Кастанеда

Признавам си – виновна! Макар да харесвам Уилям Шекспир, единствената причина, поради която посегнах точно сега към тази пиеса беше желанието ми да гледам изпълнението на Том Хидълстън като Кориолан в постановката на Британския национален театър.

„Кориолан” е една от по-малко известните трагедии на Шекспир, но също така може би една от най-мрачните и политизирани, изключително актуални за времето си творби. Все пак, днес тя мо
Wow this play was powerful and truly gripping. I finished watching the two part play of Coriolanus a while ago, and I'm still contemplating what to write.

The amazing casts led by Tom Hiddleston has brought such a thrilling, drum beating moment after moment in the stage.

My favorite parts were when Coriolanus has to clean his wounds with water pouring on him, soaking him, hearing his agony, that unimaginable pain, those cuts...

Another one was when he was arguing with the people, it really shows
Coriolanus is one of the last plays that William Shakespeare wrote and is filled with the trials and tribulations of war and politics. Caius Martius is a renowned general in the Roman army and is known for his unfailingly blunt and oftentimes brutal way with words. After beating the Volscians in Corioles and displaying courage in battle, Martius is named "Coriolanus" and given power within Rome, but the plebeians do not take kindly to his rage-filled speeches and lack of concern towards their pl ...more
Heather Domin
I don't even know how to review this. I thought I'd read this back in high school, but maybe I blanked it from my memory out of teenage frustration. You would think I'd be in love with it because, you know, Rome, but for some reason I just couldn't quite grok it. I get the feeling this is a play that works better on the stage than on the page.

I know you're supposed to dislike Coriolanus because of his pride (maybe because the characters tell you that about a hundred times), but he was pretty muc
Anna C
There are a few common tropes that one can expect in a Shakespearean tragedy. Your tragic hero will be a good person dragged down through a fatal flaw. There will be a colorful cast of side characters whose bantering puns can stretch on for pages at a time. There will be grand soliloquies that beg to be memorized. And come Act V, literally everyone will die.
"Coriolanus" is Shakespeare's last tragedy, and there is something very mature about it. Shakespeare has cut off the needless comic relief a
Coriolanus is one of Shakespeare’s least read, least performed, and all around least popular plays. It is not as poetic compared to his other works, the story is dark and very political, and sympathetic characters are thin on the ground. And yet I am glad that Tom Hiddleston’s star power (and Ralph Fiennes’ film adaptation a couple of years before that) has brought it back into the public consciousness, because Coriolanus has a lot to offer and asks a number of provoking questions about power, d ...more
General Coriolanus, typically considered as a protofascist leader, doesn't understand why anyone should suck up to others, especially if it's done in front of the common people, because too much humility could drive them into rebellion. On the other hand, the citizens think Coriolanus has been victorious only to gain reputation and to please his mother. If the general's loyalty to himself is not interpreted as part of his pride, it's a somewhat admirable quality (after all, too much praise might ...more
I picked this up to read before seeing the NT Live screening of the recent Donmar Warehouse production. I read half before I saw it and half afterwards and it changed the way I read it. I read somewhere that Shakespeare's words are meant to be spoken and are at their best when thus, and I have to agree with it. Although reading some of it before seeing it was rewarding: seeing how the actors chose to play certain scenes was fascinating, just as it was satisfying to read the text remembering how ...more
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William Shakespeare (baptised 26 April 1564) was an English poet and playwright, widely regarded as the greatest writer in the English language and the world's pre-eminent dramatist. He is often called England's national poet and the "Bard of Avon" (or simply "The Bard"). His surviving works consist of 38 plays, 154 sonnets, two long narrative poems, and several other poems. His plays have been tr ...more
More about William Shakespeare...
Romeo and Juliet Hamlet Macbeth A Midsummer Night's Dream Othello

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“They lie deadly that tell you have good faces.” 43 likes
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