Coriolanus Quotes

We are accounted poor citizens, the patriciansgood. What authority surfeits on wouldrelieve us. If they would yield us but the superfluitywhile it were wholesome, we might guess theyrelieved us humanely. But they think we are toodear. The leanness that afflicts us, the object of ourmisery, is as an inventory to particularize theirabundance; our sufferance is a gain to them. – “Coriolanus”- First Citizen in opening of play- theme of power- complaining that the patricians are benefiting form the plebes suffering–> they are then justified to revolt
Letus revenge this with our pikes, ere we becomerakes; for the gods know I speak this in hunger forbread, not in thirst for revenge. “Coriolanus”- First citizen in opening of play- theme of power- the Gods support them in their riot, know that it is justified and not just power hungry
I tell you, friends, most charitable careHave the patricians of you. For your wants,Your suffering in this dearth, you may as wellStrike at the heaven with your staves as lift themAgainst the Roman state, whose course will onThe way it takes, cracking ten thousand curbsOf more strong link asunder than can everAppear in your impediment. For the dearth,The gods, not the patricians, make it, andYour knees to them, not arms, must help. Alack,You are transported by calamityThither where more attends you, and you slanderThe helms o’ th’ state, who care for you like fathers,When you curse them as enemies. “Coriolanus”- Menenius to the revolting plebes- says patricians arent at fault, its the Gods- patricians are like your parents, looking out for you, so respect them- politics like a family then?- power theme
Care for us? True, indeed! They ne’ercared for us yet. Suffer us to famish, and theirstore-houses crammed with grain; make edicts forusury, to support usurers; repeal daily any wholesomeact established against the rich, and providemore piercing statutes daily, to chain up and restrainthe poor. If the wars eat us not up, they will;and there’s all the love they bear us. “Coriolanus”- power theme- plebe in response to Menenius claim that patricians are like caring parents
There was a time when all the body’s membersRebelled against the belly; thus accused it: “Coriolanus”- power theme- Menenius to rioting plebes- compares Rome to human body- Senate is stomach which sending food out to other parts of the body (plebes)- basically Menenius just tryna trick plebes to keep power
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 cityEre so prevailed with me. It will in timeWin upon power and throw forth greater themesFor insurrection’s arguing. “Coriolanus”- power theme- Martius (aka Coriolanus pre-his victory against the Volscians)- Corio complaining that the plebes have been given tribunes to represent their interests (ironic because the tribunes end up being just as power hungry/manipulative)- shows Corio’s contempt for commoners
Thanks.—What’s the matter, you dissentious rogues,That, rubbing the poor itch of your opinion,Make yourselves scabs?[…]He that will give good words to thee will flatterBeneath abhorring. What would you have, you curs,That like nor peace nor war? The one affrights you;The other makes you proud…you?With every minute you do change a mindAnd call him noble that was now your hate “Coriolanus”- Martius (aka corio)- power theme- corio being a dick to the peasants- tells them they are dishonest, cowardly, and fickle… but all of this is kinda true (they lie about having wanted Coriolanus exiled from Rome at 4.6.136-145); cowardly (they run away in fear during the battle at Corioles in Act 1, scene 4); and fickle (they take their votes back about 2 seconds after they agree to elect Coriolanus to office at 2.3.253-255
I sometime lay here in CoriolesAt a poor man’s house; he used me kindly.He cried to me; I saw him prisoner;But then Aufidius was with in my view,And wrath o’erwhelmed my pity. I request youTo give my poor host freedom. “Coriolanus”- Corio- power theme- talking about a kind Volscian plebe who was hospitable toward him while Corio was conquering the city- Corio maybe thinks plebe might have redeeming qualities?–> at end of the day cant remember his name to have him released a war prisoner so really doesnt care bout plebes after all
FIRST OFFICERThat’s a brave fellow, but he’s vengeanceproud, and loves not the common people.SECOND OFFICER’Faith, there had been many greatmen that have flattered the people, who ne’er lovedthem; and there be many that they have loved, theyknow not wherefore; so that, if they love theyknow not why, they hate upon no better a ground.therefore, for Coriolanus neither to care whetherthey love or hate him manifests the true knowledgehe has in their disposition and, out of his noblecarelessness, lets them plainly see ‘t. “Coriolanus”- power theme- political leaders in Capitol discussing whether Corio, after being war hero, could turn that into a political career- on the one hand, he’s a “brave” war hero. On the other hand, he’s way too proud and hates the “common people.” And it’s hard to wield power of a group of people who think you hate them.
At sixteen years,When Tarquin made a head for Rome, he foughtBeyond the mark of others. Our then dictator,Whom with all praise I point at, saw him fightWhen with his Amazonian chin he droveThe bristled lips before him. He bestridAn o’erpressed Roman and i’ th’ Consul’s viewSlew three opposers. Tarquin’s self he metAnd struck him on his knee. In that day’s feats,When he might act the woman in the scene,He proved best man i’ th’ field, and for his meedWas brow-bound with the oak “Coriolanus”- Cominius (patrician of Rome and a former consul. He is a friend of Coriolanus, and he’s one of the generals who leads the Roman army against the Volscians)- power theme- giving Corio props for being war hero at 16- overthrew previous dictator king- interesting because at the end of the day Corio is just as much of a dictator (emphasis on the “dick” lol)
______________: We charge you, that you have contrived to takeFrom Rome all seasoned office and to windYourself into a power tyrannical,For which you are a traitor to the people….______________:How? Traitor? “Coiriolanus”- power theme- Sicinius (A Roman tribune, a clever politician, and Brutus’ ally in the struggle against Coriolanus. )…. Corio- irony of Corio overthrowing Tarquin (last king, a tyrant) then becoming a tyrant himself- SP making a comment that democracy just cant work? that there will always be tyranny?
I say unto you, what he hath donefamously he did it to that end. Though soft-consciencedmen can be content to say it was forhis country, he did it to please his mother and to bepartly proud, which he is, even till the altitude ofhis virtue. “Coriolanus”- First Citizen- family theme- accusing Corio of being a mamas boy
You are transported by calamityThither where more attends you, and you slanderThe helms o’ th’ state, who care for you like fathers,When you curse them as enemies. “Coriolanus”- Menenius to plebes- family theme- says patricians take care of plebes like parents take care of kids… only patricians are shitty parents and the plebes are bratty kids
Away, you fool! It more becomes a manThan gilt his trophy. the breasts of Hecuba,When she did suckle Hector, looked not lovelierThan Hector’s forehead when it spit forth bloodAt Grecian sword, contemning. “Coriolanus”- Volumnia (Corio’s mom)- family theme- thinks sight of soldier’s bloody forehead better than a mother breast feeding her baby- prioritizing honor over all (passes this onto Corio)
___________:Methinks I hear hither your husband’s drum,See him pluck Aufidius down by th’ hair;As children from a bear, the Volsces shunning him.Methinks I see him stamp thus and call thus:’Come on, you cowards! You were got in fear,Though you were born in Rome.’ His bloody browWith his mail’d hand then wiping, forth he goesLike to a harvestman that’s tasked to mowOr all or lose his hire.____________:His bloody brow? O Jupiter, no blood! “Coriolanus”- Volumnia…. Virgilia (Corio’s wife)- family theme- Volumnia glorifying violence/honor in war, Virgilia horrified by thought of something happening to her husband- This passage not only highlights the differences between the two women’s attitudes toward warfare, – shows us that war-loving Coriolanus has more in common with his tiger mom than with his pacifist wife
If my son were myhusband, I should freelier rejoice in that absencewherein he won honor than in the embracementsof his bed where he would show most love. “Coriolanus”- Volumnia – family theme- prioritizing honor over family
Whenyet he was but tender-bodied and the only son ofmy womb, when youth with comeliness pluckedall gaze his way, when for a day of kings’ entreatiesa mother should not sell him an hour from her beholding,I, considering how honor would becomesuch a person—that it was no better than picture-liketo hang by th’ wall, if renown made it notstir—was pleased to let him seek danger where hewas like to find fame. To a cruel war I sent him,from whence he returned, his brows bound withoak. I tell thee, daughter, I sprang not more in joyat first hearing he was a man-child than now infirst seeing he had proved himself a man. “Coriolanus”- Volumnia- family theme- Volumnia brags about how she raised her son to be the deadliest warrior in Rome. She sent him off to war when most moms were insisting that their sons stay at home. – psychological impact on Corio
__________:O’ my word, the father’s son! I’ll swear, ’tis avery pretty boy. O’ my troth, I looked upon him o’Wednesday half an hour together. H’as such a confirmedcountenance. I saw him run after a gildedbutterfly, and when he caught it, he let it go again,and after it again, and over and over he comes,and again, catched it again. Or whether his fallenraged him or how ’twas, he did so set his teethand tear it. O, I warrant how he mammocked it!VOLUMNIAOne on ‘s father’s moods.VALERIAIndeed, la, ’tis a noble child. “Coriolanus”- family theme- Valeria (close friends with Virgilia and Volumnia)… Volumnia… Valeria- Valeria tells everyone how she saw Coriolanus’ little boy get mad and tear apart a butterfly with his teeth (after he tortured it)- takes after his dad… so does that mean moms dont have that much of an impact afterall? –> nature v. nurture
Let me speak.I have been consul, and can show for RomeHer enemies’ marks upon me. I do loveMy country’s good with a respect more tender,More holy and profound, than mine own life,My dear wife’s estimate, her womb’s increase,And treasure of my loins. “Coriolanus”- Cominius- family theme- family bonds are important in this play, but as we can see here, loyalty to Rome is more important- Cominius claims to love Rome more than his own family
Wife, mother, child I know not. “Coriolanus”- Corio- family theme- Corio banished from Rome –> in his mind cuts ties with his real family too – only way Coriolanus can bring himself to carry out his vengeance on Rome without feeling guilty about it??
or we must loseThe country, our dear nurse, or else thy person,Our comfort in the country.[…]thou shalt no soonerMarch to assault thy country than to tread—Trust to ‘t, thou shalt not—on thy mother’s womb,That brought thee to this world.VIRGILIA Ay, and mine,That brought you forth this boy, to keep your nameLiving to time. “Coriolanus”- Volumnia- family theme- mom and wife begging Corio not to destroy Rome, it would be like tramping the womb of his mom and wife
O mother, mother!What have you done? Behold, the heavens do ope,The gods look down, and this unnatural sceneThey laugh at. O my mother, mother, O!You have won a happy victory to Rome;But, for your son—believe it, O, believe it!—Most dangerously you have with him prevailed, “Coriolanus”- Corio- Volumnia convinces Corio to make peace with Rome rather than destroying it –> Corio knows this will lead to his downfall when returning to the Volscians –> he is blaming her for this
No more talking on ‘t; let it be done. Away, away! “Coriolanus”- all- language theme- plebes not thoughtful, just want bold action not a dialogue
Sir, the peopleMust have their voices; neither will they bateOne jot of ceremony. “Corio”- Sicinius- urging that the plebes should have a voice in gov- language theme
___________: Thanks.—What’s the matter, you dissentious rogues,That, rubbing the poor itch of your opinion,Make yourselves scabs?_____________:We have ever your good word._____________:He that will give good words to thee will flatterBeneath abhorring. “Corio”- Martius…. Second Citizen… Martius- language theme- Corio shitting on the plebes- Plebes used to being shit on by Corio- Corio says if ppl arent shitting on plebes then theyre lying
I shall tell youA pretty tale. It may be you have heard it,But since it serves my purpose, I will ventureTo stale ‘t a little more. “Corio”- Menenius- language theme- smooth talker, using langauge for politcal gain (Corio isnt good at this)
My gracious silence, hail!Wouldst thou have laughed had I come coffined home,That weep’st so to see me triumph? “Corio”- Corio- language theme- Virgilia is famous for her silence. – Coriolanus returns from war, she weeps quietly, even after her husband greets her and gently teases her for crying. Although Virgilia is often criticized for her silence (see 5.3.156), Coriolanus seems to be acknowledging her quiet dignity. –> After all, he calls her his gracious silence, right?
When blows have made me stay, I fled from words. “corio”Coriolangauge theme- cannot stand to be praised in public—so much so that he’ll run away from words of praise, even though he’s the kind of guy who never runs away from a physical fight
Consider further,That when he speaks not like a citizen,You find him like a soldier. Do not takeHis rougher accents for malicious sounds,But, as I say, such as become a soldierRather than envy you. “Corio”Meneniuslanguage theme- blaming Coriolanus’ harsh and abusive language on the fact that he is a soldier, Menenius is also reminding the voters that Coriolanus is a war hero who has saved Rome from its enemies on numerous occasions
Daughter, speak you.He cares not for your weeping.—Speak thou, boy.Perhaps thy childishness will move him moreThan can our reasons. corio- volumnia- language theme- tyring to get virginila to help stop corio from destroying rome
Like a dull actor now,I have forgot my part, and I am out “corio”corio- language theme- For once in his life, Coriolanus is at a total loss for words. And notice how Shakespeare describes it—as being like an actor who forgot his part.
_______:Name not the god, thou boy of tears![…]________: Measureless liar, thou hast made my heartToo great for what contains it. ‘Boy’? O slave!—[…]Cut me to pieces, Volsces. Men and lads,Stain all your edges on me. ‘Boy’? False hound!If you have writ your annals true, ’tis thereThat like an eagle in a dovecote, IFluttered your Volscians in Corioles,Alone I did it. ‘Boy’! Aufidius…. Corio- language theme- Corio lets himself get riled up by words- taunts volcsians after Aufidius insults him… dares them to kill him (which they do)
Note me this, good friend;Your most grave belly was deliberate,Not rash like his accusers, and thus answered: CMenenius- Art/Politics theme- to the rioting plebes- tells stomach analogy storyMoral: if you want to be a politician who is as successful as Menenius, you have to be a good entertainer who is willing and able to out on a good performance for your audience
_________:It then remainsThat you do speak to the people.____________:I do beseech you,Let me o’erleap that custom, for I cannotPut on the gown, stand naked, and entreat themFor my wounds’ sake, to give their suffrage:. Please youThat I may pass this doing. CMenenius…. Corio- art/politics theme- Menenius is comfortable being a performer slash politician but what about Coriolanus? Not so much. When Coriolanus decides to run for political office, he’s advised to wear a “gown” of humility (a special toga that’s pretty much a costume at this point) and go before the public to ask for votes. Coriolanus is not too into this idea. In fact, he says that he’d feel “naked” if he had to do this.
It is a partThat I shall blush in acting Ccorio- art/politics theme- wont pander for votes
______:I have livedTo see inherited my very wishesAnd the buildings of my fancy. OnlyThere’s one thing wanting, which I doubt not butOur Rome will cast upon thee.______:Know, good mother,I had rather be their servant in my wayThan sway with them in theirs. CVolumnia… corio- art/politics theme- corio wont comprise (suck up to plebes) when running for office
You have put me now to such a part which neverI shall discharge to th’ life. CCorioart/politicsAfter Volumnia tells her son how to act and what to say to the voters, Coriolanus says that his mother has given him a kind of acting role to play. Not only that, but it’s a tough “part” for him to play because (1) he’s terrible at acting and (2) being nice to the plebeians doesn’t come naturally to him.
_________:Come, come, we’ll promptyou.___________:I prithee now, sweet son, as thou hast saidMy praises made thee first a soldier, so,To have my praise for this, perform a partThou hast not done before. CCominius… Volumniaart/politics- Corio has to be coached to be leader- are all politicians actors then?
Well, I must do ‘t.Away, my disposition, and possess meSome harlot’s spirit! My throat of war be turned,Which choirèd with my drum, into a pipeSmall as an eunuch or the virgin voiceThat babies lulls asleep! The smiles of knavesTent in my cheeks, and schoolboys’ tears take upThe glasses of my sight! A beggar’s tongueMake motion through my lips, and my armed knees,Who bowed but in my stirrup, bend like hisThat hath received an alms. I will not do ‘t,Lest I surcease to honor mine own truthAnd, by my body’s action, teach my mindA most inherent baseness. Ccorioart/politics- associates political pandering with effeminacy.
Let us seem humbler after it is doneThan when it was a-doing. CBrutusart/politics- Coriolanus isn’t the only one trying to act. Here, Sicinius and Brutus decide that they should act with a lot more humility now that they’ve succeeded in bringing down Coriolanus. After all, they have votes to win, too.
________:Would you proceed especially againstCaius Martius?_______:Against him first. He’s a very dog to thecommonalty._________:Consider you what services he hasdone for his country? Csecond citizen…. all…. second citizenwarfare theme- emphasis on pros of being a war hero (but that doesnt mean hes a good leader
_______:The news is, sir, the Volsces are in arms.________:I am glad on ‘t. Then we shall ha’ means to ventOur musty superfluity. See, our best elders. Cmessenger… coriowarfare- sees war as way to get rid of plebes
_____:They have a leader,Tullus Aufidius, that will put you to ‘t.I sin in envying his nobility,And, were I any thing but what I am,I would wish me only he._______:You have fought together?______:Were half to half the world by the ears and he,Upon my party, I’d revolt, to makeOnly my wars with him. He is a lionThat I am proud to hunt. Cmartius…. cominius… martiuswarfare theme- Coriolanus respects his enemy a whole lot more than he respects his own people. That’s how important military achievement is in this play.
All the contagion of the south light on you,You shames of Rome! You herd of—Boils and plaguesPlaster you o’er, that you may be abhorredFurther than seen and one infect anotherAgainst the wind a mile! You souls of geese,That bear the shapes of men, how have you runFrom slaves that apes would beat! Pluto and hell!All hurt behind. Backs red, and faces paleWith flight and agued fear! Mend and charge home,Or, by the fires of heaven, I’ll leave the foeAnd make my wars on you. CMartiuswarfare theme- Coriolanus berates his (plebian) soldiers and threatens to kill them himself if they don’t start kicking some enemy soldier butt. Then he rushes into the gates of Corioles by himself and takes down a bunch of enemy soldiers, singlehandedly. This works great for the battlefield—but not so great back in Rome
O, let me clip [hug] youIn arms as sound as when I wooed, in heartAs merry as when our nuptial day was doneAnd tapers burnt bedward! CMartiuswarfare theme Coriolanus returns from battle, his friend Cominius gets all hot and bothered,- war-like culture, the relationships forged between men in times of war are way more important than the relationship between man and wife
And from this time,For what he did before Corioles, call him,With all t’ applause and clamor of the host,Martius Caius Coriolanus! Ccominiuswarfare theme- After defeating the city of Corioles, Martius earns himself a new nickname: Coriolanus. Rome obviously values the military exploits of its leaders above all else. Gee, there’s nothing like being reminded of your mass slaughter every time someone calls your name, right?
I shall lack voice. The deeds of CoriolanusShould not be uttered feebly. It is heldThat valor is the chiefest virtue andMost dignifies the haver; if it be,The man I speak of cannot in the worldBe singly counterpoised. CCominiuswarfare theme
When hewalks, he moves like an engine, and the groundshrinks before his treading. He is able to pierce acorslet with his eye, talks like a knell, and his humis a battery. CMeneniuswarfare theme- describes Coriolanus as though he’s not even human- military power above all
You would be another Penelope. Yet they sayall the yarn she spun in Ulysses’ absence did but fillIthaca full of moths CValeriagender theme- comparing Virgilia to Penelope- accuses Virgilia of acting like a pathetic stereotype.
My gracious silence, hail.Wouldst thou have laughed had I come coffined home,That weep’st to see me triumph? Ah, my dear,Such eyes the widows in Corioles wear,And mothers that lack sons. Ccoriogender theme- corio returns from war to wife, she is crying quietly- C teases her about it. But does this make her pathetic and weak? Or does it give her a quiet strength?
Nay, mother,Resume that spirit, when you were wont to sayIf you had been the wife of Hercules,Six of his labors you’d have done and savedYour husband so much sweat. Ccorio about momgender themeadmires that she defies typical weak woman stereotype
______:Are you mankind?_________:Ay, fool, is that a shame? Note but this fool.Was not a man my father? Hadst thou foxshipTo banish him that struck more blows for RomeThan thou hast spoken words? Csicinius… volumniagender themeNot everyone values Volumnia’s spirit. When Volumnia speaks her mind to one of the tribunes, Sicinius asks “Are you mankind?” Translation: “Gee, that’s not a very ladylike thing to say.”
Ladies, you deserveTo have a temple built you. All the swordsin Italy, and her confederate arms,Could not have made this peace Ccoriogender themeHere, Coriolanus calls the women peacemakers—but are they? It’s true that Volumnia convinced Coriolanus to sign a peace treaty. At the same time, she raised her son to be a killing machine and she’s always encouraged Coriolanus to go to war. She doesn’t care about peace—but she does care a lot about not dying.
Behold our patroness, the life of Rome!Call all your tribes together, praise the gods,And make triumphant fires. Strew flowers before them,Unshout the noise that banished Martius,Repeal him with the welcome of his mother.Cry ‘Welcome, ladies, welcome!’ Csenatorgender themeVolumnia finally gets the recognition she’s always wanted. Rome basically throws her a parade after she convinces Coriolanus to make peace between Rome and the Volscians. Too bad that, by convincing her son not to destroy Rome, she’s basically signed his death warrant.