List iconCoriolanus:
Act 5, scene 1
List icon

Act 5, scene 1



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 1
Enter Menenius, Cominius, Sicinius, Brutus (the two
Tribunes), with others.

 No, I’ll not go. You hear what he hath said
 Which was sometime his general, who loved him
 In a most dear particular. He called me father,
 But what o’ that? Go you that banished him;
5 A mile before his tent, fall down, and knee
 The way into his mercy. Nay, if he coyed
 To hear Cominius speak, I’ll keep at home.
 He would not seem to know me.
MENENIUS  Do you hear?
10 Yet one time he did call me by my name.
 I urged our old acquaintance, and the drops
 That we have bled together. “Coriolanus”
 He would not answer to, forbade all names.
 He was a kind of nothing, titleless,
15 Till he had forged himself a name o’ th’ fire
 Of burning Rome.
MENENIUS, to the Tribunes 
 Why, so; you have made good work!
 A pair of tribunes that have wracked Rome
 To make coals cheap! A noble memory!

ACT 5. SC. 1

20 I minded him how royal ’twas to pardon
 When it was less expected. He replied
 It was a bare petition of a state
 To one whom they had punished.
MENENIUS  Very well.
25 Could he say less?
 I offered to awaken his regard
 For ’s private friends. His answer to me was
 He could not stay to pick them in a pile
 Of noisome musty chaff. He said ’twas folly
30 For one poor grain or two to leave unburnt
 And still to nose th’ offense.
MENENIUS For one poor grain or two!
 I am one of those! His mother, wife, his child,
 And this brave fellow too, we are the grains;
35 You are the musty chaff, and you are smelt
 Above the moon. We must be burnt for you.
 Nay, pray, be patient. If you refuse your aid
 In this so-never-needed help, yet do not
 Upbraid ’s with our distress. But sure, if you
40 Would be your country’s pleader, your good tongue,
 More than the instant army we can make,
 Might stop our countryman.
MENENIUS  No, I’ll not meddle.
SICINIUS Pray you, go to him.
MENENIUS 45What should I do?
 Only make trial what your love can do
 For Rome, towards Martius.
MENENIUS  Well, and say that
50 Return me, as Cominius is returned, unheard,

ACT 5. SC. 1

 What then? But as a discontented friend,
 Grief-shot with his unkindness? Say ’t be so?
SICINIUS Yet your good will
 Must have that thanks from Rome after the measure
55 As you intended well.
MENENIUS  I’ll undertake ’t.
 I think he’ll hear me. Yet to bite his lip
 And hum at good Cominius much unhearts me.
 He was not taken well; he had not dined.
60 The veins unfilled, our blood is cold, and then
 We pout upon the morning, are unapt
 To give or to forgive; but when we have stuffed
 These pipes and these conveyances of our blood
 With wine and feeding, we have suppler souls
65 Than in our priestlike fasts. Therefore I’ll watch him
 Till he be dieted to my request,
 And then I’ll set upon him.
 You know the very road into his kindness
 And cannot lose your way.
MENENIUS 70 Good faith, I’ll prove him,
 Speed how it will. I shall ere long have knowledge
 Of my success.He exits.
COMINIUS  He’ll never hear him.
75 I tell you, he does sit in gold, his eye
 Red as ’twould burn Rome; and his injury
 The jailor to his pity. I kneeled before him;
 ’Twas very faintly he said “Rise”; dismissed me
 Thus with his speechless hand. What he would do
80 He sent in writing after me; what he
 Would not, bound with an oath to yield to his
 Conditions. So that all hope is vain
 Unless his noble mother and his wife,
 Who, as I hear, mean to solicit him

ACT 5. SC. 2

85 For mercy to his country. Therefore let’s hence
 And with our fair entreaties haste them on.
They exit.