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Act 1, scene 4



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Entire Play

As Coriolanus begins, two Roman patricians, Menenius and Martius, calm a revolt by the city’s famished plebians. Martius, who despises the plebians,…

Act 1, scene 1

Rome’s famished plebeians threaten revolt, and the patrician Menenius attempts to placate them. Martius announces that the plebeians, whom he…

Act 1, scene 2

Aufidius and Volscian senators discuss the Roman preparations for war.

Act 1, scene 3

Volumnia, Martius’s mother, and Virgilia, his wife, are visited by Valeria, who brings news of Martius at Corioles.

Act 1, scene 4

Before the Romans can besiege Corioles, the Volscians emerge to attack them. Martius rallies the troops to beat the Volscians…

Act 1, scene 5

Leaving Lartius to secure Corioles, Martius goes to the aid of the Roman general Cominius on the battlefield near the…

Act 1, scene 6

Martius joins Cominius and inspires the Roman troops to further combat.

Act 1, scene 7

Having secured Corioles, Lartius leaves to join Cominius.

Act 1, scene 8

Martius defeats Aufidius and his Volscian supporters.

Act 1, scene 9

Cominius awards Martius the name Coriolanus for his service at Corioles.

Act 1, scene 10

Aufidius vows to destroy Coriolanus by any means possible.

Act 2, scene 1

Coriolanus is welcomed back to Rome by his family and Menenius, and is expected to be elected consul. (Coriolanus’s entry…

Act 2, scene 2

The Senate meets to hear Cominius praise Coriolanus in a formal oration and then to choose Coriolanus as its nominee…

Act 2, scene 3

According to custom, Coriolanus asks a number of individual plebeians for their votes. Although he mocks them, they consent to…

Act 3, scene 1

Learning that the plebeians have revoked their votes, Coriolanus publicly attacks the decision that had given the people tribunes. Accusing…

Act 3, scene 2

The patricians and Volumnia persuade Coriolanus to pretend to tolerate the plebeians and their tribunes.

Act 3, scene 3

When the tribunes call Coriolanus a traitor, he angrily insults them, and they first impose a death sentence and then…

Act 4, scene 1

Coriolanus says goodbye to his family and closest supporters.

Act 4, scene 2

Meeting the tribunes, Volumnia and Virgilia curse them.

Act 4, scene 3

A Roman informer tells a Volscian spy of Coriolanus’s banishment.

Act 4, scene 4

Coriolanus comes to the Volscian city of Antium in search of Aufidius.

Act 4, scene 5

Coriolanus offers to join Aufidius in making war on Rome.

Act 4, scene 6

The tribunes’ delight in Coriolanus’s banishment is interrupted by news that an army led by him and Aufidius has invaded…

Act 4, scene 7

Aufidius, offended by the Volscian soldiers’ preference for Coriolanus, begins plotting against him.

Act 5, scene 1

After Cominius fails to persuade Coriolanus not to destroy Rome, Menenius agrees to try.

Act 5, scene 2

Menenius fails to shake Coriolanus’s determination to destroy Rome.

Act 5, scene 3

Volumnia, accompanied by Virgilia, Valeria, and young Martius, persuades Coriolanus to spare Rome.

Act 5, scene 4

News arrives in Rome of Volumnia’s success.

Act 5, scene 5

The Romans honor Volumnia as she returns.

Act 5, scene 6

Aufidius and his fellow conspirators, on their return to Corioles, publicly assassinate Coriolanus.

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Scene 4
Enter Martius, Titus Lartius, with Trumpet, Drum,
and Colors, with Captains and Soldiers, as before
the city of Corioles. To them a Messenger.

 Yonder comes news. A wager they have met.
 My horse to yours, no.
MARTIUS  ’Tis done.
LARTIUS  Agreed.
MARTIUS, to Messenger 
5 Say, has our general met the enemy?
 They lie in view but have not spoke as yet.
 So the good horse is mine.
MARTIUS  I’ll buy him of you.
 No, I’ll nor sell nor give him. Lend you him I will
10 For half a hundred years.—Summon the town.
MARTIUS How far off lie these armies?
MESSENGER Within this mile and half.
 Then shall we hear their ’larum and they ours.
 Now, Mars, I prithee, make us quick in work,
15 That we with smoking swords may march from
 To help our fielded friends!—Come, blow thy blast.
They sound a parley.

ACT 1. SC. 4

Enter two Senators with others on the walls of Corioles.

 Tullus Aufidius, is he within your walls?
 No, nor a man that fears you less than he:
20 That’s lesser than a little.Drum afar off.
 Hark, our drums
 Are bringing forth our youth. We’ll break our walls
 Rather than they shall pound us up. Our gates,
 Which yet seem shut, we have but pinned with
25 rushes.
 They’ll open of themselves.Alarum far off.
 Hark you, far off!
 There is Aufidius. List what work he makes
 Amongst your cloven army.
They exit from the walls.
MARTIUS 30 O, they are at it!
 Their noise be our instruction.—Ladders, ho!

Enter the Army of the Volsces as through the city gates.

 They fear us not but issue forth their city.—
 Now put your shields before your hearts, and fight
 With hearts more proof than shields.—Advance,
35 brave Titus.
 They do disdain us much beyond our thoughts,
 Which makes me sweat with wrath.—Come on, my
 He that retires, I’ll take him for a Volsce,
40 And he shall feel mine edge.
Alarum. The Romans are beat back to their trenches.
They exit, with the Volsces following.

Enter Martius cursing, with Roman soldiers.

ACT 1. SC. 4

 All the contagion of the south light on you,
 You shames of Rome! You herd of—Boils and
 Plaster you o’er, that you may be abhorred
45 Farther than seen, and one infect another
 Against the wind a mile! You souls of geese,
 That bear the shapes of men, how have you run
 From slaves that apes would beat! Pluto and hell!
 All hurt behind. Backs red, and faces pale
50 With flight and agued fear! Mend, and charge home,
 Or, by the fires of heaven, I’ll leave the foe
 And make my wars on you. Look to ’t. Come on!
 If you’ll stand fast, we’ll beat them to their wives,
 As they us to our trenches. Follow ’s!

Another alarum. The Volsces re-enter and are driven
back to the gates of Corioles, which open to admit

55 So, now the gates are ope. Now prove good
 ’Tis for the followers fortune widens them,
 Not for the fliers. Mark me, and do the like.
Martius follows the fleeing Volsces through
the gates, and is shut in.

FIRST SOLDIER Foolhardiness, not I.
FIRST SOLDIER See they have shut him in.
Alarum continues.
ALL To th’ pot, I warrant him.

Enter Titus Lartius.

 What is become of Martius?
ALL  Slain, sir, doubtless.

ACT 1. SC. 5

65 Following the fliers at the very heels,
 With them he enters, who upon the sudden
 Clapped to their gates. He is himself alone,
 To answer all the city.
LARTIUS  O, noble fellow,
70 Who sensibly outdares his senseless sword,
 And when it bows, stand’st up! Thou art left,
 A carbuncle entire, as big as thou art,
 Were not so rich a jewel. Thou wast a soldier
75 Even to Cato’s wish, not fierce and terrible
 Only in strokes, but with thy grim looks and
 The thunderlike percussion of thy sounds
 Thou mad’st thine enemies shake, as if the world
 Were feverous and did tremble.

Enter Martius, bleeding, as if from Corioles, assaulted
by the enemy.

FIRST SOLDIER 80Look, sir.
LARTIUS O, ’tis Martius!
 Let’s fetch him off or make remain alike.
They fight, and all enter the city, exiting the stage.