final_paper - 1 Professor Behnegar Western Cultural...

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1 Professor Behnegar Western Cultural Tradition 13 November 2007 The Strength of the Relationship of a Mother Shakespeare builds the character of Coriolanus throughout the tragedy Coriolanus to show how stubborn and headstrong he is. Through various incidents, Shakespeare shows his audience how Coriolanus comes off as arrogant and is continually determined to do what he wants without influence from others. Therefore, when his mother, Volumnia, makes a plea to Coriolanus to leave Rome alone, the fact that he listens to her proves there is an intense relationship between he and his mother, and that she has an effect on him as no other character in the play does. Coriolanus shows strong resistance to outside influence throughout Shakespeare’s play. He tries to make his own decisions and acts on his own accord, even against the better judgment of others and himself. In act two, Coriolanus is advised to show his scars to the plebeians and ask for their support to be made consul. Menenius, a Senator, advises “It then remains that you do speak to the people,” to which Coriolanus replies “I do beseech you, let me o’erleap that custom; for I cannot put on the gown, stand naked, and entreat them, for my wounds’ sake to give their suffrage,” (II. ii. 133-138). Although this is expected of Coriolanus, he remains resistant to the idea of showing off his battle wounds. It seems as though Coriolanus believes he should just be given the position of consul for what he did, without having to ask the plebeians, whom he is clearly at odds with. His sense of pride is strong and Coriolanus does not want to abase himself with public humility when he feels it is not necessary.
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2 This is the first time we see Volumnia’s influence on Coriolanus come into play with his actions. She wants Coriolanus to have honor, for that brings her honor as well. Therefore, she encourages him to show off his battle wounds, since that is what she believes is the sign of a good soldier and an honorable man. When she hears of the battle, Volumnia exclaims “…he is wounded, I thank the gods for’t,” (II. i. 120). This is not the expected reaction of a mother to hearing that her son has been wounded in battle, but Volumnia is more concerned with honor than with the well-being of her son. She is proud of his wounds and is excited about the prospect of him showing them off to the people of Rome. “…there will be large cicatrices to show the people when he shall stand for his place,” (II. i. 146-148) she says. Volumnia seems more adamant about Coriolanus becoming consul than he is himself. She seems pushy almost to the point of being overbearing. However, Coriolanus responds well to Volumnia’s personality. He agrees to go ask the
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final_paper - 1 Professor Behnegar Western Cultural...

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