Coriolanus | Study Guide

William Shakespeare

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Course Hero. "Coriolanus Study Guide." March 16, 2018. Accessed September 23, 2018. https://www.coursehero.com/lit/Coriolanus/.

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Course Hero, "Coriolanus Study Guide," March 16, 2018, accessed September 23, 2018, https://www.coursehero.com/lit/Coriolanus/.

Coriolanus | Act 1, Scene 5 | Summary

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Summary

Soldiers return with the spoils of victory such as precious metal, coins, and clothing. Lartius notices Martius's bloodied countenance and comments that he has fought too hard to continue fighting. Martius brushes off the comment and states the blood is of no real consequence and he intends to vanquish Aufidius. Lartius prays to Fortune for Martius's victory in battle.

Analysis

The themes of honor and war play large in this short scene, as does the recurring symbol of blood. Lartius praises Martius's willingness to continue fighting. Whether Martius is exemplifying true humility and altruism for the Roman cause or merely showing off vain heroics is uncertain. Shakespeare could be showing the opposing forces within the character. Readers are not certain what is in the victory for Martius other than glory—and possibly the satisfaction of defeating his sworn enemy. Yet the blood on Martius appears to speak for itself, placing any act of heroism beyond reproach in the eyes of Lartius.

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