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Coriolanus
Act 4, scene 7

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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 7
Enter Aufidius with his Lieutenant.

AUFIDIUS Do they still fly to th’ Roman?
LIEUTENANT 
 I do not know what witchcraft’s in him, but
 Your soldiers use him as the grace ’fore meat,
 Their talk at table, and their thanks at end;
5 And you are dark’ned in this action, sir,
 Even by your own.
AUFIDIUS  I cannot help it now,
 Unless by using means I lame the foot
 Of our design. He bears himself more proudlier,
10 Even to my person, than I thought he would
 When first I did embrace him. Yet his nature
 In that’s no changeling, and I must excuse
 What cannot be amended.
LIEUTENANT  Yet I wish, sir—
15 I mean for your particular—you had not
 Joined in commission with him, but either
 Have borne the action of yourself or else
 To him had left it solely.
AUFIDIUS 
 I understand thee well, and be thou sure,
20 When he shall come to his account, he knows not
 What I can urge against him, although it seems,
 And so he thinks and is no less apparent
 To th’ vulgar eye, that he bears all things fairly,
 And shows good husbandry for the Volscian state,

229
Coriolanus
ACT 4. SC. 7

25 Fights dragonlike, and does achieve as soon
 As draw his sword; yet he hath left undone
 That which shall break his neck or hazard mine
 Whene’er we come to our account.
LIEUTENANT 
 Sir, I beseech you, think you he’ll carry Rome?
AUFIDIUS 
30 All places yields to him ere he sits down,
 And the nobility of Rome are his;
 The Senators and Patricians love him too.
 The Tribunes are no soldiers, and their people
 Will be as rash in the repeal as hasty
35 To expel him thence. I think he’ll be to Rome
 As is the osprey to the fish, who takes it
 By sovereignty of nature. First, he was
 A noble servant to them, but he could not
 Carry his honors even. Whether ’twas pride,
40 Which out of daily fortune ever taints
 The happy man; whether defect of judgment,
 To fail in the disposing of those chances
 Which he was lord of; or whether nature,
 Not to be other than one thing, not moving
45 From th’ casque to th’ cushion, but commanding
 peace
 Even with the same austerity and garb
 As he controlled the war; but one of these—
 As he hath spices of them all—not all,
50 For I dare so far free him—made him feared,
 So hated, and so banished. But he has a merit
 To choke it in the utt’rance. So our virtues
 Lie in th’ interpretation of the time,
 And power, unto itself most commendable,
55 Hath not a tomb so evident as a chair
 T’ extol what it hath done.
 One fire drives out one fire, one nail one nail;

231
Coriolanus
ACT 4. SC. 7

 Rights by rights falter; strengths by strengths do
 fail.
60 Come, let’s away. When, Caius, Rome is thine,
 Thou art poor’st of all; then shortly art thou mine.
They exit.