Coriolanus | Study Guide

William Shakespeare

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Coriolanus | Characters

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Character Description
Coriolanus Caius Martius, later given the honorific title of Coriolanus, is a prominent Roman patrician and warrior. He is greatly admired by the Senate and the wealthy. He is despised by the plebeians (commoners) since he exhibits only disdain for them. His body is scarred from battle, and his closest relationship is to his mother, who admires his wounds as a sign of valor. Read More
Menenius Menenius is a patrician who is beloved by the common people. He is a true diplomat who continually tries to understand the points of view of all concerned. He urges everyone to find peaceful ways to solve problems. He attempts to persuade Coriolanus not to invade Rome. Read More
Volumnia Volumnia is Coriolanus's mother. She has an enormous influence on Coriolanus and continually makes references to his wounds received in combat as an indication of his honor and courage and his sacrifices for Rome. Read More
Tullus Aufidius Tullus Aufidius is the Volscian military leader. He is more tolerant of people than is Coriolanus. His army has been beaten by Coriolanus before, and he, therefore, has great hatred for Coriolanus, whom he desires to kill if he encounters him again. He shows a more conciliatory nature than Coriolanus when he allows him to join forces with the Volscians.
Brutus Brutus is one of the two old, bearded tribunes of the plebeians who defends the plebeians in their struggle for food and for their fight for representation in the Senate. He works with Sicinius to persuade the citizens to exile Coriolanus. He is also the tribune that the citizens threaten to kill if Coriolanus cannot be persuaded to spare Rome.
Cominius Cominius is a Roman senator and main military leader against the Volscians. He admires Coriolanus's leadership and courage in battle and bestows upon him the honorific title of Coriolanus.
Lartius Lartius is a Roman soldier and senator. He fights with Martius at Corioles.
Nicanor Nicanor is a spy from Rome who provides information to the Volscians regarding Coriolanus's plans. He has a beard he shaves in order to be harder to identify.
Sicinius Sicinius is the second tribune. He tends to be more mean-spirited and manipulative than Brutus. He initially pushes for the death penalty for Coriolanus. He also suggests manipulating the populace against Coriolanus to remind them how much they have hated him. However, he is satisfied with merely banishing Coriolanus, which is what places Rome at great risk.
Valeria Valeria is a lady of Rome who is well respected. She is chaste and honorable. She is also one of the three women who successfully pleads with Coriolanus not to invade Rome.
Virgilia Virgilia is the young wife of Coriolanus who is quite afraid of his death or injury in battle. She helps convince Coriolanus to spare Rome.
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