List iconCoriolanusList icon

Coriolanus
Act 3, scene 3

Synopsis:

Contents

Characters in the Play

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.

Include links to:

Images
Glosses
Audio
Video
Essays
Quill icon
Scene 3
Enter Sicinius and Brutus.

BRUTUS 
 In this point charge him home, that he affects
 Tyrannical power. If he evade us there,
 Enforce him with his envy to the people,
 And that the spoil got on the Antiates
5 Was ne’er distributed.

Enter an Aedile.

 What, will he come?
AEDILE He’s coming.
BRUTUS How accompanied?
AEDILE 
 With old Menenius, and those senators
10 That always favored him.
SICINIUS  Have you a catalogue
 Of all the voices that we have procured,
 Set down by th’ poll?
AEDILE  I have. ’Tis ready.
SICINIUS 
15 Have you collected them by tribes?
AEDILE  I have.
SICINIUS 
 Assemble presently the people hither;
 And when they hear me say “It shall be so

167
Coriolanus
ACT 3. SC. 3

 I’ th’ right and strength o’ th’ commons,” be it either
20 For death, for fine, or banishment, then let them
 If I say “Fine,” cry “Fine,” if “Death,” cry “Death,”
 Insisting on the old prerogative
 And power i’ th’ truth o’ th’ cause.
AEDILE  I shall inform them.
BRUTUS 
25 And when such time they have begun to cry,
 Let them not cease, but with a din confused
 Enforce the present execution
 Of what we chance to sentence.
AEDILE  Very well.
SICINIUS 
30 Make them be strong and ready for this hint
 When we shall hap to give ’t them.
BRUTUS  Go about it.
Aedile exits.
 Put him to choler straight. He hath been used
 Ever to conquer and to have his worth
35 Of contradiction. Being once chafed, he cannot
 Be reined again to temperance; then he speaks
 What’s in his heart, and that is there which looks
 With us to break his neck.

Enter Coriolanus, Menenius, and Cominius, with
others (Senators).


SICINIUS  Well, here he comes.
MENENIUS, aside to Coriolanus 40Calmly, I do beseech
 you.
CORIOLANUS, aside to Menenius 
 Ay, as an hostler that for th’ poorest piece
 Will bear the knave by th’ volume.—Th’ honored
 gods
45 Keep Rome in safety and the chairs of justice
 Supplied with worthy men! Plant love among ’s!

169
Coriolanus
ACT 3. SC. 3

 Throng our large temples with the shows of peace
 And not our streets with war!
FIRST SENATOR  Amen, amen.
MENENIUS 50A noble wish.

Enter the Aedile with the Plebeians.

SICINIUS Draw near, you people.
AEDILE 
 List to your tribunes. Audience! Peace, I say!
CORIOLANUS First, hear me speak.
BOTH TRIBUNES Well, say.—Peace, ho!
CORIOLANUS 
55 Shall I be charged no further than this present?
 Must all determine here?
SICINIUS  I do demand
 If you submit you to the people’s voices,
 Allow their officers, and are content
60 To suffer lawful censure for such faults
 As shall be proved upon you.
CORIOLANUS  I am content.
MENENIUS 
 Lo, citizens, he says he is content.
 The warlike service he has done, consider. Think
65 Upon the wounds his body bears, which show
 Like graves i’ th’ holy churchyard.
CORIOLANUS  Scratches with
 briars,
 Scars to move laughter only.
MENENIUS 70 Consider further,
 That when he speaks not like a citizen,
 You find him like a soldier. Do not take
 His rougher accents for malicious sounds,
 But, as I say, such as become a soldier
75 Rather than envy you.
COMINIUS  Well, well, no more.

171
Coriolanus
ACT 3. SC. 3

CORIOLANUS What is the matter,
 That, being passed for consul with full voice,
 I am so dishonored that the very hour
80 You take it off again?
SICINIUS Answer to us.
CORIOLANUS Say then. ’Tis true, I ought so.
SICINIUS 
 We charge you that you have contrived to take
 From Rome all seasoned office and to wind
85 Yourself into a power tyrannical,
 For which you are a traitor to the people.
CORIOLANUS 
 How? Traitor?
MENENIUS  Nay, temperately! Your promise.
CORIOLANUS 
 The fires i’ th’ lowest hell fold in the people!
90 Call me their traitor? Thou injurious tribune!
 Within thine eyes sat twenty thousand deaths,
 In thy hands clutched as many millions, in
 Thy lying tongue both numbers, I would say
 “Thou liest” unto thee with a voice as free
95 As I do pray the gods.
SICINIUS  Mark you this, people?
ALL PLEBEIANS To th’ rock, to th’ rock with him!
SICINIUS Peace!
 We need not put new matter to his charge.
100 What you have seen him do and heard him speak,
 Beating your officers, cursing yourselves,
 Opposing laws with strokes, and here defying
 Those whose great power must try him—even this,
 So criminal and in such capital kind,
105 Deserves th’ extremest death.
BRUTUS  But since he hath
 Served well for Rome—
CORIOLANUS  What do you prate of service?
BRUTUS I talk of that that know it.

173
Coriolanus
ACT 3. SC. 3

CORIOLANUS 110You?
MENENIUS 
 Is this the promise that you made your mother?
COMINIUS Know, I pray you—
CORIOLANUS I’ll know no further.
 Let them pronounce the steep Tarpeian death,
115 Vagabond exile, flaying, pent to linger
 But with a grain a day, I would not buy
 Their mercy at the price of one fair word,
 Nor check my courage for what they can give,
 To have ’t with saying “Good morrow.”
SICINIUS 120 For that he has,
 As much as in him lies, from time to time
 Envied against the people, seeking means
 To pluck away their power, as now at last
 Given hostile strokes, and that not in the presence
125 Of dreaded justice, but on the ministers
 That doth distribute it, in the name o’ th’ people
 And in the power of us the Tribunes, we,
 Even from this instant, banish him our city
 In peril of precipitation
130 From off the rock Tarpeian, never more
 To enter our Rome gates. I’ th’ people’s name,
 I say it shall be so.
ALL PLEBEIANS 
 It shall be so, it shall be so! Let him away!
 He’s banished, and it shall be so.
COMINIUS 
135 Hear me, my masters and my common friends—
SICINIUS 
 He’s sentenced. No more hearing.
COMINIUS  Let me speak.
 I have been consul and can show for Rome
 Her enemies’ marks upon me. I do love
140 My country’s good with a respect more tender,
 More holy and profound, than mine own life,

175
Coriolanus
ACT 3. SC. 3

 My dear wife’s estimate, her womb’s increase,
 And treasure of my loins. Then if I would
 Speak that—
SICINIUS 145 We know your drift. Speak what?
BRUTUS 
 There’s no more to be said, but he is banished
 As enemy to the people and his country.
 It shall be so.
ALL PLEBEIANS It shall be so, it shall be so!
CORIOLANUS 
150 You common cry of curs, whose breath I hate
 As reek o’ th’ rotten fens, whose loves I prize
 As the dead carcasses of unburied men
 That do corrupt my air, I banish you!
 And here remain with your uncertainty;
155 Let every feeble rumor shake your hearts;
 Your enemies, with nodding of their plumes,
 Fan you into despair! Have the power still
 To banish your defenders, till at length
 Your ignorance—which finds not till it feels,
160 Making but reservation of yourselves,
 Still your own foes—deliver you
 As most abated captives to some nation
 That won you without blows! Despising
 For you the city, thus I turn my back.
165 There is a world elsewhere.
Coriolanus, Cominius, with others (Senators) exit.
AEDILE 
 The people’s enemy is gone, is gone.
ALL PLEBEIANS 
 Our enemy is banished; he is gone. Hoo, hoo!
They all shout and throw up their caps.
SICINIUS 
 Go see him out at gates, and follow him,
 As he hath followed you, with all despite.

177
Coriolanus
ACT 3. SC. 3

170 Give him deserved vexation. Let a guard
 Attend us through the city.
ALL PLEBEIANS 
 Come, come, let’s see him out at gates! Come!
 The gods preserve our noble tribunes! Come!
They exit.