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Coriolanus
Act 4, scene 1

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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 1
Enter Coriolanus, Volumnia, Virgilia, Menenius,
Cominius, with the young nobility of Rome.


CORIOLANUS 
 Come, leave your tears. A brief farewell. The beast
 With many heads butts me away. Nay, mother,
 Where is your ancient courage? You were used
 To say extremities was the trier of spirits;
5 That common chances common men could bear;
 That when the sea was calm, all boats alike
 Showed mastership in floating; fortune’s blows
 When most struck home, being gentle wounded
 craves
10 A noble cunning. You were used to load me
 With precepts that would make invincible
 The heart that conned them.
VIRGILIA 
 O heavens! O heavens!
CORIOLANUS  Nay, I prithee,
15 woman—
VOLUMNIA 
 Now the red pestilence strike all trades in Rome,
 And occupations perish!
CORIOLANUS  What, what, what!
 I shall be loved when I am lacked. Nay, mother,
20 Resume that spirit when you were wont to say
 If you had been the wife of Hercules,
181

183
Coriolanus
ACT 4. SC. 1

 Six of his labors you’d have done and saved
 Your husband so much sweat.—Cominius,
 Droop not. Adieu.—Farewell, my wife, my mother.
25 I’ll do well yet.—Thou old and true Menenius,
 Thy tears are salter than a younger man’s
 And venomous to thine eyes.—My sometime
 general,
 I have seen thee stern, and thou hast oft beheld
30 Heart-hard’ning spectacles. Tell these sad women
 ’Tis fond to wail inevitable strokes
 As ’tis to laugh at ’em.—My mother, you wot well
 My hazards still have been your solace, and—
 Believe ’t not lightly—though I go alone,
35 Like to a lonely dragon that his fen
 Makes feared and talked of more than seen, your
 son
 Will or exceed the common or be caught
 With cautelous baits and practice.
VOLUMNIA 40 My first son,
 Whither wilt thou go? Take good Cominius
 With thee awhile. Determine on some course
 More than a wild exposure to each chance
 That starts i’ th’ way before thee.
VIRGILIA 45 O the gods!
COMINIUS 
 I’ll follow thee a month, devise with thee
 Where thou shalt rest, that thou mayst hear of us
 And we of thee; so if the time thrust forth
 A cause for thy repeal, we shall not send
50 O’er the vast world to seek a single man
 And lose advantage, which doth ever cool
 I’ th’ absence of the needer.
CORIOLANUS  Fare you well.
 Thou hast years upon thee, and thou art too full
55 Of the wars’ surfeits to go rove with one
 That’s yet unbruised. Bring me but out at gate.—

185
Coriolanus
ACT 4. SC. 2

 Come, my sweet wife, my dearest mother, and
 My friends of noble touch. When I am forth,
 Bid me farewell, and smile. I pray you, come.
60 While I remain above the ground, you shall
 Hear from me still, and never of me aught
 But what is like me formerly.
MENENIUS  That’s worthily
 As any ear can hear. Come, let’s not weep.
65 If I could shake off but one seven years
 From these old arms and legs, by the good gods,
 I’d with thee every foot.
CORIOLANUS  Give me thy hand.
 Come.
They exit.