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ACT I. Scene I. [Rome. A street.]
Enter a company of mutinous Citizens, with staves, clubs, and other weapons.
1. Citizen Before we proceed any further, hear me speak.
All. Speak, speak!
1. Citizen You are all resolv’d rather to die than to famish?
All. Resolv’d, resolv’d!
1. Citizen First, you know Caius Martius is chief enemy to the people. 5
All. We know’t, we know’t!
1. Citizen Let us kill him, and we’ll have corn at our own price. Is’t a verdict?
All. No more talking on’t! Let it be done! Away, away!
2. Citizen One word, good citizens. 9
1. Citizen We are accounted poor citizens, the patricians good. What authority surfeits on would relieve us. If they would yield us but the superfluity while it were wholesome, we might guess they relieved us humanely; but they think we are too dear. The leanness that afflicts us, the object of our misery, is as an inventory to particularize their abundance; our sufferance is a gain to them. Let us revenge this with our pikes ere we become rakes; for the gods know I speak this in hunger for bread, not in thirst for revenge.
2. Citizen Would you proceed especially against Caius Martius? 15
1. Citizen Against him first. He’s a very dog to the commonalty.
2. Citizen Consider you what services he has done for his country?
1. Citizen Very well, and could be content to give him good report for’t but that he pays himself with being proud.
2. Citizen Nay, but speak not maliciously. 20
1. Citizen I say unto you, what he hath done famously, he did it to that end. Though soft-conscienc’d men can be content to say it was for his country, he did it to please his mother and to be partly proud, which he is, even to the altitude of his virtue.
2. Citizen What he cannot help in his nature, you account a vice in him. You must in no way say he is covetous.
1. Citizen If I must not, I need not be barren of accusations. He hath faults (with surplus) to tire in repetition. 25
What shouts are these? The other side o’ th’ city is risen. Why stay we prating here? To th’ Capitol!
All. Come, come!
1. Citizen Soft! who comes here?
Introduction to the Kittredge Edition
Introduction to the Focus Edition
How to Read Coriolanus as Performance
Topics for Discussion and Further Study