List iconCoriolanus:
Act 4, scene 5
List icon

Act 4, scene 5



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.

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Scene 5
Music plays. Enter a Servingman.

FIRST SERVINGMAN Wine, wine, wine! What service is
 here? I think our fellows are asleep.He exits.

Enter another Servingman.

SECOND SERVINGMAN Where’s Cotus? My master calls
 for him. Cotus!He exits.

Enter Coriolanus.

5 A goodly house. The feast smells well, but I
 Appear not like a guest.

Enter the First Servingman.

FIRST SERVINGMAN What would you have, friend?
 Whence are you? Here’s no place for you. Pray, go
 to the door.He exits.
10 I have deserved no better entertainment
 In being Coriolanus.

Enter Second Servingman.

SECOND SERVINGMAN Whence are you, sir?—Has the
 porter his eyes in his head, that he gives entrance
 to such companions?—Pray, get you out.
SECOND SERVINGMAN Away? Get you away.
CORIOLANUS Now th’ art troublesome.
SECOND SERVINGMAN Are you so brave? I’ll have you
 talked with anon.

Enter Third Servingman; the First, entering,
meets him.

THIRD SERVINGMAN 20What fellow’s this?

ACT 4. SC. 5

FIRST SERVINGMAN A strange one as ever I looked on. I
 cannot get him out o’ th’ house. Prithee, call my
 master to him.He steps aside.
THIRD SERVINGMAN What have you to do here, fellow?
25 Pray you, avoid the house.
CORIOLANUS Let me but stand. I will not hurt your
CORIOLANUS A gentleman.
THIRD SERVINGMAN 30A marv’llous poor one.
CORIOLANUS True, so I am.
THIRD SERVINGMAN Pray you, poor gentleman, take up
 some other station. Here’s no place for you. Pray
 you, avoid. Come.
CORIOLANUS 35Follow your function, go, and batten on
 cold bits.Pushes him away from him.
THIRD SERVINGMAN What, you will not?—Prithee, tell
 my master what a strange guest he has here.
Second Servingman exits.
THIRD SERVINGMAN 40Where dwell’st thou?
CORIOLANUS Under the canopy.
THIRD SERVINGMAN Under the canopy?
CORIOLANUS 45I’ th’ city of kites and crows.
THIRD SERVINGMAN I’ th’ city of kites and crows? What
 an ass it is! Then thou dwell’st with daws too?
CORIOLANUS No, I serve not thy master.
THIRD SERVINGMAN How, sir? Do you meddle with my
50 master?
CORIOLANUS Ay, ’tis an honester service than to meddle
 with thy mistress. Thou prat’st and prat’st. Serve
 with thy trencher. Hence!Beats him away.
Third Servingman exits.

ACT 4. SC. 5

Enter Aufidius with the Second Servingman.

AUFIDIUS Where is this fellow?
SECOND SERVINGMAN 55Here, sir. I’d have beaten him like
 a dog, but for disturbing the lords within.
He steps aside.
AUFIDIUS Whence com’st thou? What wouldst thou?
 Thy name? Why speak’st not? Speak, man. What’s
 thy name?
CORIOLANUS, removing his muffler 60If, Tullus,
 Not yet thou know’st me, and seeing me, dost not
 Think me for the man I am, necessity
 Commands me name myself.
AUFIDIUS  What is thy name?
65 A name unmusical to the Volscians’ ears
 And harsh in sound to thine.
AUFIDIUS  Say, what’s thy name?
 Thou hast a grim appearance, and thy face
 Bears a command in ’t. Though thy tackle’s torn,
70 Thou show’st a noble vessel. What’s thy name?
 Prepare thy brow to frown. Know’st thou me yet?
AUFIDIUS I know thee not. Thy name?
 My name is Caius Martius, who hath done
 To thee particularly and to all the Volsces
75 Great hurt and mischief; thereto witness may
 My surname Coriolanus. The painful service,
 The extreme dangers, and the drops of blood
 Shed for my thankless country are requited
 But with that surname, a good memory
80 And witness of the malice and displeasure
 Which thou shouldst bear me. Only that name
 The cruelty and envy of the people,

ACT 4. SC. 5

 Permitted by our dastard nobles, who
85 Have all forsook me, hath devoured the rest,
 And suffered me by th’ voice of slaves to be
 Whooped out of Rome. Now this extremity
 Hath brought me to thy hearth, not out of hope—
 Mistake me not—to save my life; for if
90 I had feared death, of all the men i’ th’ world
 I would have ’voided thee, but in mere spite,
 To be full quit of those my banishers,
 Stand I before thee here. Then if thou hast
 A heart of wreak in thee, that wilt revenge
95 Thine own particular wrongs and stop those maims
 Of shame seen through thy country, speed thee
 And make my misery serve thy turn. So use it
 That my revengeful services may prove
100 As benefits to thee, for I will fight
 Against my cankered country with the spleen
 Of all the under fiends. But if so be
 Thou dar’st not this, and that to prove more fortunes
 Thou ’rt tired, then, in a word, I also am
105 Longer to live most weary, and present
 My throat to thee and to thy ancient malice,
 Which not to cut would show thee but a fool,
 Since I have ever followed thee with hate,
 Drawn tuns of blood out of thy country’s breast,
110 And cannot live but to thy shame, unless
 It be to do thee service.
AUFIDIUS  O Martius, Martius,
 Each word thou hast spoke hath weeded from my
115 A root of ancient envy. If Jupiter
 Should from yond cloud speak divine things
 And say ’tis true, I’d not believe them more
 Than thee, all-noble Martius. Let me twine

ACT 4. SC. 5

 Mine arms about that body, whereagainst
120 My grainèd ash an hundred times hath broke
 And scarred the moon with splinters.
They embrace.
 Here I clip
 The anvil of my sword and do contest
 As hotly and as nobly with thy love
125 As ever in ambitious strength I did
 Contend against thy valor. Know thou first,
 I loved the maid I married; never man
 Sighed truer breath. But that I see thee here,
 Thou noble thing, more dances my rapt heart
130 Than when I first my wedded mistress saw
 Bestride my threshold. Why, thou Mars, I tell thee
 We have a power on foot, and I had purpose
 Once more to hew thy target from thy brawn
 Or lose mine arm for ’t. Thou hast beat me out
135 Twelve several times, and I have nightly since
 Dreamt of encounters ’twixt thyself and me;
 We have been down together in my sleep,
 Unbuckling helms, fisting each other’s throat,
 And waked half dead with nothing. Worthy Martius,
140 Had we no other quarrel else to Rome but that
 Thou art thence banished, we would muster all
 From twelve to seventy and, pouring war
 Into the bowels of ungrateful Rome,
 Like a bold flood o’erbear ’t. O, come, go in,
145 And take our friendly senators by th’ hands,
 Who now are here, taking their leaves of me,
 Who am prepared against your territories,
 Though not for Rome itself.
CORIOLANUS  You bless me, gods!
150 Therefore, most absolute sir, if thou wilt have
 The leading of thine own revenges, take

ACT 4. SC. 5

 Th’ one half of my commission and set down—
 As best thou art experienced, since thou know’st
 Thy country’s strength and weakness—thine own
155 ways,
 Whether to knock against the gates of Rome,
 Or rudely visit them in parts remote
 To fright them ere destroy. But come in.
 Let me commend thee first to those that shall
160 Say yea to thy desires. A thousand welcomes!
 And more a friend than ere an enemy—
 Yet, Martius, that was much. Your hand. Most
 welcome!Coriolanus and Aufidius exit.

Two of the Servingmen come forward.

FIRST SERVINGMAN Here’s a strange alteration!
SECOND SERVINGMAN 165By my hand, I had thought to
 have strucken him with a cudgel, and yet my mind
 gave me his clothes made a false report of him.
FIRST SERVINGMAN What an arm he has! He turned me
 about with his finger and his thumb as one would
170 set up a top.
SECOND SERVINGMAN Nay, I knew by his face that there
 was something in him. He had, sir, a kind of face,
 methought—I cannot tell how to term it.
FIRST SERVINGMAN He had so, looking as it were—
175 Would I were hanged but I thought there was
 more in him than I could think.
SECOND SERVINGMAN So did I, I’ll be sworn. He is simply
 the rarest man i’ th’ world.
FIRST SERVINGMAN I think he is. But a greater soldier
180 than he you wot one.
FIRST SERVINGMAN Nay, it’s no matter for that.
SECOND SERVINGMAN Worth six on him.
FIRST SERVINGMAN Nay, not so neither. But I take him
185 to be the greater soldier.

ACT 4. SC. 5

SECOND SERVINGMAN Faith, look you, one cannot tell
 how to say that. For the defense of a town our general
 is excellent.
FIRST SERVINGMAN Ay, and for an assault too.

Enter the Third Servingman.

THIRD SERVINGMAN 190O slaves, I can tell you news, news,
 you rascals!
BOTH What, what, what? Let’s partake!
THIRD SERVINGMAN I would not be a Roman, of all nations;
 I had as lief be a condemned man.
BOTH 195Wherefore? Wherefore?
THIRD SERVINGMAN Why, here’s he that was wont to
 thwack our general, Caius Martius.
FIRST SERVINGMAN Why do you say “thwack our
THIRD SERVINGMAN 200I do not say “thwack our general,”
 but he was always good enough for him.
SECOND SERVINGMAN Come, we are fellows and friends.
 He was ever too hard for him; I have heard him
 say so himself.
FIRST SERVINGMAN 205He was too hard for him directly, to
 say the truth on ’t, before Corioles; he scotched
 him and notched him like a carbonado.
SECOND SERVINGMAN An he had been cannibally given,
 he might have boiled and eaten him too.
FIRST SERVINGMAN 210But, more of thy news.
THIRD SERVINGMAN Why, he is so made on here within
 as if he were son and heir to Mars; set at upper end
 o’ th’ table; no question asked him by any of the
 senators but they stand bald before him. Our general
215 himself makes a mistress of him, sanctifies
 himself with ’s hand, and turns up the white o’ th’
 eye to his discourse. But the bottom of the news is,
 our general is cut i’ th’ middle and but one half of

ACT 4. SC. 5

 what he was yesterday, for the other has half, by
220 the entreaty and grant of the whole table. He’ll go,
 he says, and sowl the porter of Rome gates by th’
 ears. He will mow all down before him and leave
 his passage polled.
SECOND SERVINGMAN And he’s as like to do ’t as any
225 man I can imagine.
THIRD SERVINGMAN Do ’t? He will do ’t! For, look you,
 sir, he has as many friends as enemies, which
 friends, sir, as it were, durst not, look you, sir, show
 themselves, as we term it, his friends whilest he’s
230 in directitude.
FIRST SERVINGMAN Directitude? What’s that?
THIRD SERVINGMAN But when they shall see, sir, his
 crest up again, and the man in blood, they will out
 of their burrows like coneys after rain, and revel
235 all with him.
FIRST SERVINGMAN But when goes this forward?
THIRD SERVINGMAN Tomorrow, today, presently. You
 shall have the drum struck up this afternoon. ’Tis,
 as it were, a parcel of their feast, and to be executed
240 ere they wipe their lips.
SECOND SERVINGMAN Why then, we shall have a stirring
 world again. This peace is nothing but to rust iron,
 increase tailors, and breed ballad-makers.
FIRST SERVINGMAN Let me have war, say I. It exceeds
245 peace as far as day does night. It’s sprightly walking,
 audible, and full of vent. Peace is a very apoplexy,
 lethargy; mulled, deaf, sleepy, insensible; a getter
 of more bastard children than war’s a destroyer of
SECOND SERVINGMAN 250’Tis so, and as wars in some sort
 may be said to be a ravisher, so it cannot be denied
 but peace is a great maker of cuckolds.

ACT 4. SC. 6

FIRST SERVINGMAN Ay, and it makes men hate one
THIRD SERVINGMAN 255Reason: because they then less
 need one another. The wars for my money! I hope
 to see Romans as cheap as Volscians. (Noise
They are rising; they are rising.
They exit.