List iconCoriolanusList icon

Coriolanus
Act 4, scene 6

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 6
Enter the two Tribunes. Sicinius and Brutus.

SICINIUS 
 We hear not of him, neither need we fear him.
 His remedies are tame—the present peace,
 And quietness of the people, which before
 Were in wild hurry. Here do we make his friends
5 Blush that the world goes well, who rather had,
 Though they themselves did suffer by ’t, behold
 Dissentious numbers pest’ring streets than see
 Our tradesmen singing in their shops and going
 About their functions friendly.
BRUTUS 
10 We stood to ’t in good time.

Enter Menenius.

 Is this Menenius?
SICINIUS 
 ’Tis he, ’tis he. O, he is grown most kind
 Of late.—Hail, sir.
MENENIUS  Hail to you both.
SICINIUS 
15 Your Coriolanus is not much missed
 But with his friends. The commonwealth doth stand,
 And so would do were he more angry at it.

215
Coriolanus
ACT 4. SC. 6

MENENIUS 
 All’s well, and might have been much better if
 He could have temporized.
SICINIUS 20Where is he, hear you?
MENENIUS Nay, I hear nothing;
 His mother and his wife hear nothing from him.

Enter three or four Citizens.

ALL CITIZENS, to the Tribunes 
 The gods preserve
 you both!
SICINIUS 25 Good e’en, our neighbors.
BRUTUS 
 Good e’en to you all, good e’en to you all.
FIRST CITIZEN 
 Ourselves, our wives, and children, on our knees
 Are bound to pray for you both.
SICINIUS  Live, and thrive!
BRUTUS 
30 Farewell, kind neighbors. We wished Coriolanus
 Had loved you as we did.
ALL CITIZENS  Now the gods keep you!
BOTH TRIBUNES Farewell, farewell.Citizens exit.
SICINIUS 
 This is a happier and more comely time
35 Than when these fellows ran about the streets
 Crying confusion.
BRUTUS  Caius Martius was
 A worthy officer i’ th’ war, but insolent,
 O’ercome with pride, ambitious, past all thinking
40 Self-loving.
SICINIUS 
 And affecting one sole throne, without assistance.
MENENIUS I think not so.
SICINIUS 
 We should by this, to all our lamentation,
 If he had gone forth consul, found it so.

217
Coriolanus
ACT 4. SC. 6

BRUTUS 
45 The gods have well prevented it, and Rome
 Sits safe and still without him.

Enter an Aedile.

AEDILE  Worthy tribunes,
 There is a slave, whom we have put in prison,
 Reports the Volsces with two several powers
50 Are entered in the Roman territories,
 And with the deepest malice of the war
 Destroy what lies before ’em.
MENENIUS  ’Tis Aufidius,
 Who, hearing of our Martius’ banishment,
55 Thrusts forth his horns again into the world,
 Which were inshelled when Martius stood for Rome,
 And durst not once peep out.
SICINIUS Come, what talk you of Martius?
BRUTUS 
 Go see this rumorer whipped. It cannot be
60 The Volsces dare break with us.
MENENIUS  Cannot be?
 We have record that very well it can,
 And three examples of the like hath been
 Within my age. But reason with the fellow
65 Before you punish him, where he heard this,
 Lest you shall chance to whip your information
 And beat the messenger who bids beware
 Of what is to be dreaded.
SICINIUS  Tell not me.
70 I know this cannot be.
BRUTUS  Not possible.

Enter a Messenger.

MESSENGER 
 The nobles in great earnestness are going

219
Coriolanus
ACT 4. SC. 6

 All to the Senate House. Some news is coming
 That turns their countenances.
SICINIUS 75 ’Tis this slave—
 Go whip him ’fore the people’s eyes—his raising,
 Nothing but his report.
MESSENGER  Yes, worthy sir,
 The slave’s report is seconded, and more,
80 More fearful, is delivered.
SICINIUS  What more fearful?
MESSENGER 
 It is spoke freely out of many mouths—
 How probable I do not know—that Martius,
 Joined with Aufidius, leads a power ’gainst Rome
85 And vows revenge as spacious as between
 The young’st and oldest thing.
SICINIUS  This is most likely!
BRUTUS 
 Raised only that the weaker sort may wish
 Good Martius home again.
SICINIUS 90The very trick on ’t.
MENENIUS This is unlikely;
 He and Aufidius can no more atone
 Than violent’st contrariety.

Enter a Second Messenger.

SECOND MESSENGER You are sent for to the Senate.
95 A fearful army, led by Caius Martius
 Associated with Aufidius, rages
 Upon our territories, and have already
 O’erborne their way, consumed with fire and took
 What lay before them.

Enter Cominius.

COMINIUS, to the Tribunes 100 O, you have made good
 work!
MENENIUS What news? What news?

221
Coriolanus
ACT 4. SC. 6

COMINIUS, to the Tribunes 
 You have holp to ravish your own daughters and
 To melt the city leads upon your pates,
105 To see your wives dishonored to your noses—
MENENIUS What’s the news? What’s the news?
COMINIUS, to the Tribunes 
 Your temples burnèd in their cement, and
 Your franchises, whereon you stood, confined
 Into an auger’s bore.
MENENIUS 110 Pray now, your news?—
 You have made fair work, I fear me.—Pray, your
 news?
 If Martius should be joined with Volscians—
COMINIUS  If?
115 He is their god; he leads them like a thing
 Made by some other deity than Nature,
 That shapes man better; and they follow him
 Against us brats with no less confidence
 Than boys pursuing summer butterflies
120 Or butchers killing flies.
MENENIUS, to the Tribunes  You have made good work,
 You and your apron-men, you that stood so much
 Upon the voice of occupation and
 The breath of garlic eaters!
COMINIUS 
125 He’ll shake your Rome about your ears.
MENENIUS 
 As Hercules did shake down mellow fruit.
 You have made fair work.
BRUTUS But is this true, sir?
COMINIUS Ay, and you’ll look pale
130 Before you find it other. All the regions
 Do smilingly revolt, and who resists
 Are mocked for valiant ignorance
 And perish constant fools. Who is ’t can blame him?
 Your enemies and his find something in him.

223
Coriolanus
ACT 4. SC. 6

MENENIUS 135We are all undone, unless
 The noble man have mercy.
COMINIUS  Who shall ask it?
 The Tribunes cannot do ’t for shame; the people
 Deserve such pity of him as the wolf
140 Does of the shepherds. For his best friends, if they
 Should say “Be good to Rome,” they charged him
 even
 As those should do that had deserved his hate
 And therein showed like enemies.
MENENIUS 145 ’Tis true.
 If he were putting to my house the brand
 That should consume it, I have not the face
 To say “Beseech you, cease.”—You have made fair
 hands,
150 You and your crafts! You have crafted fair!
COMINIUS  You have
 brought
 A trembling upon Rome such as was never
 S’ incapable of help.
TRIBUNES 155 Say not we brought it.
MENENIUS 
 How? Was ’t we? We loved him, but like beasts
 And cowardly nobles, gave way unto your clusters,
 Who did hoot him out o’ th’ city.
COMINIUS  But I fear
160 They’ll roar him in again. Tullus Aufidius,
 The second name of men, obeys his points
 As if he were his officer. Desperation
 Is all the policy, strength, and defense
 That Rome can make against them.

Enter a troop of Citizens.

MENENIUS 165 Here come the
 clusters.—
 And is Aufidius with him? You are they

225
Coriolanus
ACT 4. SC. 6

 That made the air unwholesome when you cast
 Your stinking, greasy caps in hooting at
170 Coriolanus’ exile. Now he’s coming,
 And not a hair upon a soldier’s head
 Which will not prove a whip. As many coxcombs
 As you threw caps up will he tumble down
 And pay you for your voices. ’Tis no matter.
175 If he could burn us all into one coal,
 We have deserved it.
ALL CITIZENS Faith, we hear fearful news.
FIRST CITIZEN For mine own part,
 When I said banish him, I said ’twas pity.
SECOND CITIZEN 180And so did I.
THIRD CITIZEN And so did I. And, to say the truth, so
 did very many of us. That we did we did for the
 best; and though we willingly consented to his
 banishment, yet it was against our will.
COMINIUS 185You’re goodly things, you voices!
MENENIUS 
 You have made good work, you and your cry!—
 Shall ’s to the Capitol?
COMINIUS  O, ay, what else?Both exit.
SICINIUS 
 Go, masters, get you home. Be not dismayed.
190 These are a side that would be glad to have
 This true which they so seem to fear. Go home,
 And show no sign of fear.
FIRST CITIZEN The gods be good to us! Come, masters,
 let’s home. I ever said we were i’ th’ wrong when
195 we banished him.
SECOND CITIZEN So did we all. But, come, let’s home.
Citizens exit.
BRUTUS I do not like this news.
SICINIUS Nor I.

227
Coriolanus
ACT 4. SC. 7

BRUTUS 
 Let’s to the Capitol. Would half my wealth
200 Would buy this for a lie.
SICINIUS  Pray, let’s go.
Tribunes exit.