Andrew's Reviews > Coriolanus

Coriolanus by William Shakespeare
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's review
Sep 26, 2008

it was amazing

Thanks to my Renaissance reading group, I was driven to read one of the major Shakespeare plays I knew nothing about (all that is left is CYMBELINE and TIMON OF ATHENS). An interesting companion piece to JULIUS CAESAR, because Shakespeare isn't tied into a well-known historical plot. Instead Shakespeare invents here, steals there, drops elsewhere, and makes Coriolanus represent the noblemen's indignity at accepting a people's rule. This rage is both internal and external, as Coriolanus' inability to trust the people is instilled in his intense pride but also in his hatred for his own humanity which he tries to represses but ultimately cannot. He'll turn away his best friend, but not his family - that scene is one of WS' most powerful scenes: Coriolanus wants to live in a body free of a soul, powered by the force of his revenge, but ultimately the anatomy betrays his inability to live within himself.

It's not as quotable as CAESAR, but offers a more complicated political reading than the Caesar-Antony/Brutus-Cassius binaries. In a time when politics is characterized by the indecision of policy-makers, it's fascinating to see portrayed the rhetoric of such indignant will.

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