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The Coriolanus Play by William Shakespeare is a popular classic. In this drama, a Roman general who is expelled from Rome and plans to attack the capital again argues against the decision of his superiors. The play reveals the conflict between the two men, and the conflict between their personalities and ideologies is one of the central themes of the play. To understand the plot of this play, we must consider both of their backgrounds, and explore what motivated them to act in the way they did.
"To each his own" is a common theme in Shakespeare's plays, and Coriolanus is no exception. This solitary warrior and man of war, however, shows little insight into his character. He shouts at the people of Rome and shows no sign of understanding the emotions of his soldiers. In addition to this, he is very attracted to the leader of an enemy group.
The play, originally titled "Coriolanus", was first staged in 1681 at the Drury Lane theatre in Covent Garden, London. The Irish-born poet Nahum Tate had adapted Shakespeare's play. Set in ancient Italy in the 490's BC, Coriolanus is set in Rome and coastal towns south of the capital.
After the defeat of the Volscians in the Battle of Trajan's Field, Coriolanus returns to Gaul to seek revenge. He meets with Aufidius, who welcomes him with open arms. However, he realizes that he cannot protect Rome alone against both men. In this state, the Romans panic and reject all pleadings. On the other hand, Volumnia goes to Volscia to beg for Rome's mercy.
If you've ever watched The Merchant of Venice, you've probably come across a character called Aufidius. This Volscian chieftain is an excellent military leader, but he lacks the compassion for the common man. While Coriolanus spares Rome when he leads the Volscians, he kills Aufidius after he refuses to share the spoils with him.
The first three lines of the play show that Coriolanus is a reactionary. While it is true that he can't stand public praise, he will run away when praised. This reactionary behavior has profound political implications. For instance, he suggests that he will slaughter the slaves if the aristocratic authorities fail to protect them. Yet, his character's emotional instability is not the sole reason that he is a reactionary.
The murder of Coriolanus by Aufidius begins with the arrival of Marcius and the Volscians. Aufidius accuses Coriolanus of treason and oath breaking. Aufidius also mocks Coriolanus, calling him "a boy of tears." The Volscians are furious and wish to kill the young hero. However, Aufidius is the only one capable of killing the young hero.
In Coriolanus, the hero has failed to fulfill his responsibilities and commits suicide. As the son of the Roman king, his fate is determined by the actions of his mother. However, the consequences of his action will reverberate throughout the play. In this play, Shakespeare uses a tragic hero to show the importance of self-discipline and the need to fulfill commitments.
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