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Coriolanus

Coriolanus

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Courses this book is used in:
  • Literature 10: Ancient Rome:
    • Homeschool
    • Online
    • Self-Paced
Not only is Coriolanus a Roman history play in addition to being a tragedy, it is a decidedly political work that embodies a debate or treatise concerning the relative merits of patrician autocracy versus plebian democracy. One of the play's central figurative motifs is the analogy of the body politic spelled out by the patrician (rich and conservative) senator Menenius in the opening scene's famous belly speech. It pivots on the notion of the state (here the city-state) being an organic body in which different classes or vocations of citizens are parts or members, the aristocrats being the belly" and the lower-class plebians being the "toe." It is the arm of the Roman state, the fierce, noble, and proud military leader Coriolanus with which the play is centrally concerned."