Coriolanus (Pelican Shakespeare Series)

Coriolanus (Pelican Shakespeare Series)


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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780140714739
Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date: 09/28/1999
Series: Pelican Shakespeare Series
Edition description: Revised
Pages: 192
Sales rank: 501,229
Product dimensions: 5.10(w) x 7.80(h) x 0.40(d)
Age Range: 18 Years

About the Author

William Shakespeare was born in Stratford-upon-Avon in April, 1564, and his birth is traditionally celebrated on April 23. The facts of his life, known from surviving documents, are sparse. He died on April 23, 1616, and was buried in Holy Trinity Church, Stratford. 

A. R. Braunmuller is Distinguished Professor of English and Comparative Literature at the University of California at Los Angeles. He has written critical volumes on George Peele and George Chapman and has edited plays in both the Oxford (King John) and Cambridge (Macbeth) series of Shakespeare editions. He is also general editor of The New Cambridge Shakespeare. 

Stephen Orgel is the Jackson Eli Reynolds Professor of the Humanities at Stanford University and general editor of the Cambridge Studies in Renaissance Literature and Culture. His books include Imagining ShakespeareThe Authentic ShakespeareImpersonations: The Performance of Gender in Shakespeare’s England and The Illusion of Power.

Date of Death:


Place of Birth:

Stratford-upon-Avon, United Kingdom

Place of Death:

Stratford-upon-Avon, United Kingdom

Read an Excerpt

Act 1 Scene 1 running scene 1

Enter a company of mutinous Citizens, with staves, clubs and other weapons

FIRST CITIZEN Before we proceed any further, hear me speak.

ALL Speak, speak.

FIRST CITIZEN You are all resolved rather to die than to famish?

ALL Resolved, resolved.

FIRST CITIZEN First, you know Caius Martius is chief enemy to the people.

ALL We know't, we know't.

FIRST 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.

SECOND CITIZEN One word, good citizens.

FIRST 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.

SECOND CITIZEN Would you proceed especially against Caius Martius?

ALL Against him first: he's a very dog to the commonalty.

SECOND CITIZEN Consider you what services he has done for his country?

FIRST CITIZEN Very well, and could be content to give him good report for't, but that he pays himself with being proud.

ALL Nay, but speak not maliciously.

FIRST CITIZEN I say unto you, what he hath done famously, he did it to that end: though soft-conscienced 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.

SECOND CITIZEN What he cannot help in his nature, you account a vice in him. You must in no way say he is covetous.

FIRST CITIZEN If I must not, I need not be barren of accusations: he hath faults, with surplus, to tire in repetition.

Shouts within

What shouts are these? The other side o'th'city is risen: why stay we prating here? To th'Capitol!

ALL Come, come.

FIRST CITIZEN Soft, who comes here?

Enter Menenius Agrippa

SECOND CITIZEN Worthy Menenius Agrippa, one that hath always loved the people.

FIRST CITIZEN He's one honest enough: would all the rest were so!

MENENIUS What work's, my countrymen, in hand? Where go you

With bats and clubs? The matter, speak, I pray you.

SECOND CITIZEN Our business is not unknown to th'senate: they have had inkling this fortnight what we intend to do, which now we'll show 'em in deeds. They say poor suitors have strong breaths: they shall know we have strong arms too.

MENENIUS Why, masters, my good friends, mine honest neighbours,

Will you undo yourselves?

SECOND CITIZEN We cannot, sir, we are undone already.

MENENIUS I tell you, friends, most charitable care

Have the patricians of you. For your wants,

Your suffering in this dearth, you may as well

Strike at the heaven with your staves as lift them

Against the Roman state, whose course will on

The way it takes, cracking ten thousand curbs

Of more strong link asunder than can ever

Appear in your impediment. For the dearth,

The gods, not the patricians, make it, and

Your knees to them, not arms, must help. Alack,

You are transported by calamity

Thither where more attends you, and you slander

The helms o'th'state, who care for you like fathers,

When you curse them as enemies.

SECOND CITIZEN Care for us? True, indeed, they ne'er cared for us yet. Suffer us to famish, and their store-houses crammed with grain: make edicts for usury, to support usurers: repeal daily any wholesome act established against the rich, and provide more piercing statutes daily, to chain up and restrain the poor. If the wars eat us not up, they will: and there's all the love they bear us.

MENENIUS Either you must

Confess yourselves wondrous malicious,

Or be accused of folly. I shall tell you

A pretty tale: it may be you have heard it,

But since it serves my purpose, I will venture

To stale't a little more.

SECOND CITIZEN Well, I'll hear it, sir: yet you must not think to fob off our disgrace with a tale: but, an't please you, deliver.

MENENIUS There was a time when all the body's members

Rebelled against the belly, thus accused it:

That only like a gulf it did remain

I'th'midst o'th'body, idle and unactive,

Still cupboarding the viand, never bearing

Like labour with the rest, where th'other instruments

Did see and hear, devise, instruct, walk, feel,

And, mutually participate, did minister

Unto the appetite and affection common

Of the whole body. The belly answered-

SECOND CITIZEN Well, sir, what answer made the belly?

MENENIUS Sir, I shall tell you: with a kind of smile,

Which ne'er came from the lungs, but even thus -

For look you, I may make the belly smile

As well as speak - it tauntingly replied

To th'discontented members, the mutinous parts

That envied his receipt: even so most fitly

As you malign our senators for that

They are not such as you.

SECOND CITIZEN Your belly's answer: what?

The kingly crownèd head, the vigilant eye,

The counsellor heart, the arm our soldier,

Our steed the leg, the tongue our trumpeter,

With other muniments and petty helps

In this our fabric, if that they-

MENENIUS What then?

Fore me, this fellow speaks! What then? What then?

SECOND CITIZEN Should by the cormorant belly be restrained,

Who is the sink o'th'body-

MENENIUS Well, what then?

SECOND CITIZEN The former agents, if they did complain,

What could the belly answer?

MENENIUS I will tell you,

If you'll bestow a small - of what you have little -

Patience awhile, you'st hear the belly's answer.

SECOND CITIZEN You're long about it.

MENENIUS Note me this, good friend:

Your most grave belly was deliberate,

Not rash like his accusers, and thus answered:

'True is it, my incorporate friends,' quoth he,

'That I receive the general food at first

Which you do live upon: and fit it is,

Because I am the storehouse and the shop

Of the whole body. But, if you do remember,

I send it through the rivers of your blood

Even to the court, the heart, to th'seat o'th'brain,

And through the cranks and offices of man,

The strongest nerves and small inferior veins

From me receive that natural competency

Whereby they live. And though that all at once' -

You, my good friends, this says the belly, mark me-

SECOND CITIZEN Ay, sir, well, well.

MENENIUS 'Though all at once cannot

See what I do deliver out to each,

Yet I can make my audit up, that all

From me do back receive the flour of all,

And leave me but the bran.' What say you to't?

SECOND CITIZEN It was an answer: how apply you this?

MENENIUS The senators of Rome are this good belly,

And you the mutinous members: for examine

Their counsels and their cares, digest things rightly

Touching the weal o'th'common, you shall find

No public benefit which you receive

But it proceeds or comes from them to you

And no way from yourselves. What do you think,

You, the great toe of this assembly?

SECOND CITIZEN I the great toe? Why the great toe?

MENENIUS For that, being one o'th'lowest, basest, poorest

Of this most wise rebellion, thou goest foremost:

Thou rascal, that art worst in blood to run,

Lead'st first to win some vantage.

But make you ready your stiff bats and clubs:

Rome and her rats are at the point of battle:

The one side must have bale.

Enter Caius Martius

Hail, noble Martius.

MARTIUS Thanks. What's the matter, you dissentious rogues,

That, rubbing the poor itch of your opinion,

Make yourselves scabs?

SECOND CITIZEN We have ever your good word.

MARTIUS 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. Your virtue is

To make him worthy whose offence subdues him

And curse that justice did it. Who deserves greatness

Deserves your hate, and your affections are

A sick man's appetite, who desires most that

Which would increase his evil. He that depends

Upon your favours swims with fins of lead,

And hews down oaks with rushes. Hang ye! Trust ye?

With every minute you do change a mind,

And call him noble that was now your hate,

Him vile that was your garland. What's the matter,

That in these several places of the city

You cry against the noble senate, who,

Under the gods, keep you in awe, which else

Would feed on one another?- What's their To Menenius


MENENIUS For corn at their own rates, whereof they say

The city is well stored.

MARTIUS Hang 'em! They say?

They'll sit by th'fire, and presume to know

What's done i'th'Capitol: who's like to rise,

Who thrives and who declines: side factions and give out

Conjectural marriages, making parties strong

And feebling such as stand not in their liking

Below their cobbled shoes. They say there's grain enough?

Would the nobility lay aside their ruth,

And let me use my sword, I'd make a quarry

With thousands of these quartered slaves, as high

As I could pick my lance.

MENENIUS Nay, these are almost thoroughly persuaded:

For though abundantly they lack discretion,

Yet are they passing cowardly. But I beseech you,

What says the other troop?

MARTIUS They are dissolved: hang 'em:

They said they were an-hungry, sighed forth proverbs

That hunger broke stone walls, that dogs must eat,

That meat was made for mouths, that the gods sent not

Corn for the rich men only: with these shreds

They vented their complainings, which being answered,

And a petition granted them, a strange one -

To break the heart of generosity,

And make bold power look pale - they threw their caps

As they would hang them on the horns o'th'moon,

Shouting their emulation.

MENENIUS What is granted them?

MARTIUS Five tribunes to defend their vulgar wisdoms,

Of their own choice. One's Junius Brutus,

Sicinius Velutus, and I know not. 'Sdeath,

The rabble should have first unroofed the city,

Ere so prevailed with me: it will in time

Win upon power and throw forth greater themes

For insurrection's arguing.

MENENIUS This is strange.

MARTIUS Go get you home, you fragments. To the Citizens

Enter a Messenger hastily

MESSENGER Where's Caius Martius?

MARTIUS Here: what's the matter?

MESSENGER The news is, sir, the Volsces are in arms.

MARTIUS I am glad on't: then we shall ha' means to vent

Our musty superfluity. See, our best elders.

Enter Sicinius Velutus, Junius Brutus, Cominius, Titus Lartius, with other Senators

FIRST SENATOR Martius, 'tis true that you have lately told us:

The Volsces are in arms.

MARTIUS They have a leader,

Tullus Aufidius, that will put you to't:

I sin in envying his nobility,

And were I anything but what I am,

I would wish me only he.

COMINIUS You have fought together!

MARTIUS Were half to half the world by th'ears and he

Upon my party, I'd revolt to make

Only my wars with him. He is a lion

That I am proud to hunt.

FIRST SENATOR Then, worthy Martius,

Attend upon Cominius to these wars.

COMINIUS It is your former promise. To Martius

MARTIUS Sir, it is,

And I am constant: Titus Lartius, thou

Shalt see me once more strike at Tullus' face.

What, art thou stiff? Stand'st out?

LARTIUS No, Caius Martius,

I'll lean upon one crutch and fight with t'other,

Ere stay behind this business.

MENENIUS O, true-bred!

FIRST SENATOR Your company to th'Capitol, where I know

Our greatest friends attend us.

LARTIUS Lead you on.- To Cominius

Follow Cominius, we must follow you, To Martius

Right worthy your priority.

COMINIUS Noble Martius.

FIRST SENATOR Hence to your homes, be gone. To the Citizens

MARTIUS Nay, let them follow:

The Volsces have much corn: take these rats thither

To gnaw their garners. Worshipful mutineers,

Your valour puts well forth: pray follow. Exeunt

Citizens steal away. Sicinius and Brutus remain

SICINIUS Was ever man so proud as is this Martius?

BRUTUS He has no equal.

SICINIUS When we were chosen tribunes for the people-

BRUTUS Marked you his lip and eyes?

SICINIUS Nay, but his taunts.

BRUTUS Being moved, he will not spare to gird the gods.

SICINIUS Bemock the modest moon.

BRUTUS The present wars devour him: he is grown

Too proud to be so valiant.

SICINIUS Such a nature,

Tickled with good success, disdains the shadow

Which he treads on at noon: but I do wonder

His insolence can brook to be commanded

Under Cominius.

BRUTUS Fame, at the which he aims,

In whom already he's well graced, cannot

Better be held nor more attained than by

A place below the first: for what miscarries

Shall be the general's fault, though he perform

To th'utmost of a man, and giddy censure

Will then cry out of Martius 'O, if he

Had borne the business!'

SICINIUS Besides, if things go well,

Opinion that so sticks on Martius shall

Of his demerits rob Cominius.


Half all Cominius' honours are to Martius,

Though Martius earned them not: and all his faults

To Martius shall be honours, though indeed

In aught he merit not.

SICINIUS Let's hence, and hear

How the dispatch is made, and in what fashion,

More than his singularity, he goes

Upon this present action.

BRUTUS Let's along. Exeunt

[Act 1 Scene 2] running scene 2

Enter Tullus Aufidius with Senators of Corioles

FIRST SENATOR So, your opinion is, Aufidius,

That they of Rome are entered in our counsels

And know how we proceed.

AUFIDIUS Is it not yours?

Whatever have been thought on in this state,

That could be brought to bodily act ere Rome

Had circumvention? 'Tis not four days gone

Since I heard thence: these are the words: I think

I have the letter here: yes, here it is. He reads the letter

'They have pressed a power, but it is not known

Whether for east or west: the dearth is great,

The people mutinous: and it is rumoured,

Cominius, Martius your old enemy,

Who is of Rome worse hated than of you,

And Titus Lartius, a most valiant Roman,

These three lead on this preparation

Whither 'tis bent: most likely 'tis for you:

Consider of it.'

Table of Contents

Publisher's Note vi
The Theatrical World vii
The Texts of Shakespeare xxiii
Introduction xxvii
Note on the Text li

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Coriolanus Pelican Shakespeare Series) 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 4 reviews.
jeff.maynes on LibraryThing 6 months ago
In most tragedies, and Shakespearan ones in particular, the force of the tragedic ending is based on the reader's (or audience's) sympathy with the principal character. We may not like him or her, but we feel close enough to them to suffer their loss. We've lamented in the storm with Lear, and contemplated with Hamlet. We can never really get to this place with Caius Martius Coriolanus (I'll use Martius to refer to the character, to avoid confusion with the title of the play).Martius is a Roman general of great reknown, whose tragic flaw is his contempt for the people of Rome. Led on by members of the Roman senate, the people turn on Martius, and he is cast from the city. When his mother leads a contingent to him, to ask him to lay down the arms he has raised against Rome, Martius prepares himself for their visit:"My wife comes foremost; then the honored mold Wherein this trunk was framed, and in her handThe grandchild to her blood. But out, affection!All bond and privilege of nature, break!Let it virtuous to be obstinate" (V.3, 22-25).This is a moving passage, and a rich one. Does Martius think that it is obstinate to be virtuous, because the obstinancy protects a virtue (namely his pride)? Or does he recognize that he has long since left virtue behind, and is pleading to retain virtue? Yet even here, where Martius tries to cast aside affection for his family and break the bonds he has with them, it is difficult for the reader to sympathize with Martius in the way we would with characters in other tragedies. He has not given us rich soliloquies, or even reflected on his course of action. What's more, his course of action seems clearly in the wrong. His pride against the people is contemptous, and when he is cast aside, he ends up electing to burn Rome to the ground. The way in which pride drives him to these actions, the way it drives him to atttempt to reject his bonds, is entirely opaque. The play is not weaker for it though. It is different from many of the tragedies, but no less moving and no less thought provoking. While I may not have felt the same sense of desolation that one feels at the end of Lear, this play is rewarding for the complexity of the character interactions, and the depth of the sub-text.Consider, for example, the role of the citizens of Rome. The play opens with their lodging a complaint with Martius, that he has prevented them from receiving available grain. This charge is unrefuted, and Martius instead replies that the people do not deserve it, for they have not served in the wars. They ultimately turn on Martius, and it seems that there is something prescient about this decision. While Martius was not guilty of some of the charges laid against him, his willingness to turn against Rome on the simple matter of his pride suggests a mercenary element of his character that the people have trussed out.At the same time, the people are led by tribunes who goad and manipulate them. Martius' failure is his inability to win the crowd over in this way. This portrayal is much harsher on the citizens. In these passages, they come across as animals waiting to be herded. This is like the image we get of the Roman citizens in Julius Caesar, where the people's emotions are so easily manipulated by Brutus and then Antony. We see elements of that here, but the people are much more complex. After banishing Martius, one citizen recalls "For mine own part, / when I said `Banish him,' I said 'twas pity." One might read this as the citizens simply turning coat again, as Martius' returns with an army. Yet, I suspect there is more to it than that. The citizens may be manipulable, but they recognize this fact. The citizens in Caesar show little indication that they recognize how Antony moves them at his will.This relation between Martius and the people drives the play. As noted above, Martius' downfall is due to his unwillingness and inability to placate the people. In one particula
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
She jumped onto the HighStone. "Let all cats gather to hear my words!" She waited for Darkclan to as<_>semble for she continued. "I've been talking to Whiteleaf, the medicine cat, and also my son. He has decided to resign from his role. Also, he has requested a new name, that's not as<_sociated with medicine cats. Whiteleaf, do you promise to support and uphold the Warrior Code, even at the cost of your life?" <br> "I do." Whiteleaf replied with simple determination. <br> Shimmerstar continued. "Then, from now on, you shall be known as Whitefur. You will sit vigil tonight." She paused before going on. "There are two kits who are long over due for their apprentice ceromony. Sunkit, step foward. Is it your wish to train as a warrior and help protect your clan?" <br> "It is," Sunkit responded. <br> Shimmerstar went on. "Then from now on, until you become a warrior, you shall be Sunpaw. Your mentor sball be Stromfur." <br> She rested her chin on Sunpaw's head before continuing. "Moonkit, if it is your wish to train as a warrior, you will be Moonpaw. Your mentor is Whitefur." She watched the mentrs greet their new apprentices as the clan cheered their names.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
For someone to take your rps in blooclan? Keep 3 of them at most. And post it at res 2, where my list is. Talk to you tomorrow. Ggtb bbt.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago