Fabian Scherschel's Reviews > Coriolanus

Coriolanus by William Shakespeare
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Jan 05, 11

bookshelves: classics, plays, shakespeare
Read from December 18, 2010 to January 05, 2011 — I own a copy

** spoiler alert ** Coriolanus certainly isn't one of Shakespeare's best plays, it is also a pretty unknown one at that. With most playwrites, this would mean the piece is terrible, but we are talking Shakespeare here after all...

The play in question, although classified as a tragedy, deals with the mostly-historical account of Roman general Caius Marcius, who, in the time of the First Republic, conquers the Volscian city of Corioli and comes home as a hero of the people whereupon he gets bestowed with the cognomen that gives the play its title. The play starts out pretty lame and I have to admit it often misses the trademark wit and those divine lines that I so enjoy about Shakespeare. The fact that he desperately tried to be witty with all the character names doesn't help either, in my opinion. The pace picks up once Coriolanus is cast out of Rome and the speech he gives at that occasion is the first highlight of the play. The last act is where the play really gets interesting and this was the first time I really got into it. Especially the last three scenes sees the playwrite in his usual form and the final murder of Marcius does Shakespeare's name fully justice. The biggest problem I have with this plot is that the tragic element just didn't work out for me due to the fact that I just couldn't sympathise with the main character — he mostly comes across as the arrogant ass that his enemies are trying to convince everyone he is, which really is a bit ironic and I doubt that was the intention.

All in all, still an interesting read, especially if you are into Ancient Rome or just want to read everything the man has ever written. I just wouldn't at all recommend it if you are just getting into Shakespeare. You would be much better served by Richard III, Macbeth, one of the Henries or even Hamlet.
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