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Coriolanus
Act 1, scene 9

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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 9
Alarum. A retreat is sounded. Flourish. Enter, at one
door, Cominius with the Romans; at another door
Martius, with his arm in a scarf.


COMINIUS, to Martius 
 If I should tell thee o’er this thy day’s work,
 Thou ’t not believe thy deeds. But I’ll report it
 Where senators shall mingle tears with smiles;
 Where great patricians shall attend and shrug,
5 I’ th’ end admire; where ladies shall be frighted
 And, gladly quaked, hear more; where the dull
 tribunes,
 That with the fusty plebeians hate thine honors,
 Shall say against their hearts “We thank the gods
10 Our Rome hath such a soldier.”
 Yet cam’st thou to a morsel of this feast,
 Having fully dined before.

Enter Titus Lartius with his power, from the pursuit.

LARTIUS  O general,
 Here is the steed, we the caparison.
15 Hadst thou beheld—
MARTIUS  Pray now, no more. My mother,
 Who has a charter to extol her blood,
 When she does praise me grieves me. I have done
 As you have done—that’s what I can;
20 Induced as you have been—that’s for my country.
 He that has but effected his good will
 Hath overta’en mine act.

61
Coriolanus
ACT 1. SC. 9

COMINIUS  You shall not be
 The grave of your deserving. Rome must know
25 The value of her own. ’Twere a concealment
 Worse than a theft, no less than a traducement,
 To hide your doings and to silence that
 Which, to the spire and top of praises vouched,
 Would seem but modest. Therefore, I beseech you—
30 In sign of what you are, not to reward
 What you have done—before our army hear me.
MARTIUS 
 I have some wounds upon me, and they smart
 To hear themselves remembered.
COMINIUS  Should they not,
35 Well might they fester ’gainst ingratitude
 And tent themselves with death. Of all the horses—
 Whereof we have ta’en good and good store—of all
 The treasure in this field achieved and city,
 We render you the tenth, to be ta’en forth
40 Before the common distribution
 At your only choice.
MARTIUS  I thank you, general,
 But cannot make my heart consent to take
 A bribe to pay my sword. I do refuse it
45 And stand upon my common part with those
 That have beheld the doing.
A long flourish. They all cry “Martius, Martius!”
and cast up their caps and lances.
Cominius and Lartius stand bare.

 May these same instruments, which you profane,
 Never sound more! When drums and trumpets shall
 I’ th’ field prove flatterers, let courts and cities be
50 Made all of false-faced soothing! When steel grows
 Soft as the parasite’s silk, let him be made
 An ovator for th’ wars! No more, I say.
 For that I have not washed my nose that bled,
 Or foiled some debile wretch—which, without note,

63
Coriolanus
ACT 1. SC. 9

55 Here’s many else have done—you shout me forth
 In acclamations hyperbolical,
 As if I loved my little should be dieted
 In praises sauced with lies.
COMINIUS  Too modest are you,
60 More cruel to your good report than grateful
 To us that give you truly. By your patience,
 If ’gainst yourself you be incensed, we’ll put you,
 Like one that means his proper harm, in manacles,
 Then reason safely with you. Therefore be it known,
65 As to us to all the world, that Caius Martius
 Wears this war’s garland, in token of the which
 My noble steed, known to the camp, I give him,
 With all his trim belonging. And from this time,
 For what he did before Corioles, call him,
70 With all th’ applause and clamor of the host,
 Martius Caius Coriolanus! Bear
 Th’ addition nobly ever!

Flourish. Trumpets sound, and drums.

ALL 
 Martius Caius Coriolanus!
CORIOLANUS  I will go wash;
75 And when my face is fair, you shall perceive
 Whether I blush or no. Howbeit, I thank you.
 I mean to stride your steed and at all times
 To undercrest your good addition
 To th’ fairness of my power.
COMINIUS 80 So, to our tent,
 Where, ere we do repose us, we will write
 To Rome of our success.—You, Titus Lartius,
 Must to Corioles back. Send us to Rome
 The best, with whom we may articulate
85 For their own good and ours.
LARTIUS  I shall, my lord.

65
Coriolanus
ACT 1. SC. 10

CORIOLANUS 
 The gods begin to mock me. I, that now
 Refused most princely gifts, am bound to beg
 Of my lord general.
COMINIUS 90 Take ’t, ’tis yours. What is ’t?
CORIOLANUS 
 I sometime lay here in Corioles
 At a poor man’s house; he used me kindly.
 He cried to me; I saw him prisoner;
 But then Aufidius was within my view,
95 And wrath o’erwhelmed my pity. I request you
 To give my poor host freedom.
COMINIUS  O, well begged!
 Were he the butcher of my son, he should
 Be free as is the wind.—Deliver him, Titus.
LARTIUS 
100 Martius, his name?
CORIOLANUS  By Jupiter, forgot!
 I am weary; yea, my memory is tired.
 Have we no wine here?
COMINIUS  Go we to our tent.
105 The blood upon your visage dries; ’tis time
 It should be looked to. Come.
A flourish of cornets. They exit.