Coriolanus | Study Guide

William Shakespeare

Download a PDF to print or study offline.

Study Guide
Cite This Study Guide

How to Cite This Study Guide

quotation mark graphic
MLA

Bibliography

Course Hero. "Coriolanus Study Guide." Course Hero. 16 Mar. 2018. Web. 12 Dec. 2018. <https://www.coursehero.com/lit/Coriolanus/>.

In text

(Course Hero)

APA

Bibliography

Course Hero. (2018, March 16). Coriolanus Study Guide. In Course Hero. Retrieved December 12, 2018, from https://www.coursehero.com/lit/Coriolanus/

In text

(Course Hero, 2018)

Chicago

Bibliography

Course Hero. "Coriolanus Study Guide." March 16, 2018. Accessed December 12, 2018. https://www.coursehero.com/lit/Coriolanus/.

Footnote

Course Hero, "Coriolanus Study Guide," March 16, 2018, accessed December 12, 2018, https://www.coursehero.com/lit/Coriolanus/.

Coriolanus | Act 4, Scene 1 | Summary

Share
Share

Summary

Coriolanus says goodbye to his wife, mother, Cominius, and Menenius. Cominius offers to travel with Coriolanus for a month so that word can be sent to his family. Coriolanus tells him Cominius is too war weary to follow him. Menenius wishes he were younger so he could come with him. Virgilia is beside herself with grief. Sentenced to exile and saying goodbye to friends and loved ones, Coriolanus still takes time to insult the populace. He calls them the "beast with many heads."

Analysis

The "beast with many heads" is a reference to the Hydra, which was a multiheaded beast that destroyed anyone in its path.

Exile in ancient Rome was commonly used as a punishment in lieu of the death penalty. This form of punishment also accentuates the isolation of Coriolanus from society more effectively than the death penalty: he would have died a Roman (albeit a traitor), but now he is a man without a country.

Structurally this scene feels like a resolution to the tense, climactic scene at the end of Act 3 when Coriolanus faces the possibility of death.

Cite This Study Guide

information icon Have study documents to share about Coriolanus? Upload them to earn free Course Hero access!