Coriolanus | Study Guide

William Shakespeare

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Coriolanus | Act 1, Scene 8 | Summary



Martius and Aufidius do battle face to face while declaring their mutual hatred. Other Volscians enter to aid Aufidius. Martius fights until the Volscians and Aufidius retreat, but Aufidius reproaches his men: they have "shamed" him by rescuing him.


War is the focus here, not in a large-scale battle but in a more intimate confrontation. Here it is plain that war is considered by some to be a solution for personal enmity. There appears to be no advantage to Rome on Martius's mind, only the defeat of a personal enemy. Blood continues to present itself as a badge of honor and might as Martius references his own bloodied appearance and boasts it is not his own blood. Blood sets Martius apart from Aufidius in this scene. Aufidius has no similar badge of honor, and he ends up having to seek safety in numbers.

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