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Coriolanus | Study Guide

William Shakespeare

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Coriolanus | Quotes


That, rubbing the poor itch of your opinion, / Make yourselves scabs?

Coriolanus, Act 1, Scene 1

Coriolanus is criticizing the citizens who are revolting, particularly about him. He reproaches them for complaining too much about the current food shortage.


The gods, not the patricians, make it, and / Your knees to them, not arms, must help.

Menenius, Act 1, Scene 1

Menenius is admonishing the crowd for trying to solve the food shortage problems with violence. He advises them to pray instead.


The breasts of Hecuba / When she did suckle Hector, looked not lovelier / Than Hector's forehead when it spit forth blood / At Grecian sword, contemning.

Volumnia, Act 1, Scene 3

Volumnia compares her pride in having a strong, aggressive son with the Trojan queen Hecuba whose son, Hector, would grow up to be a fierce warrior.


If any think brave death outweighs bad life, / And that his country's dearer than himself; / Let him alone, or so many so minded, / Wave thus to express his disposition / And follow Martius.

Coriolanus, Act 1, Scene 7

Coriolanus is rallying his fellow soldiers to attack the Volscian city of Corioles with a willingness to sacrifice their lives for victory.


Nature teaches beasts to know their friends.

Sicinius, Act 2, Scene 1

Sicinius is insulting the aristocracy and Coriolanus by stating the plebeians can recognize who represents them and who is against their interests.


More of / your conversation would infect my brain, being / the herdsmen of the beastly plebeians.

Menenius, Act 2, Scene 1

Menenius is reproaching the tribunes for fomenting riots.


He had rather venture all his limbs for honor / Than one's ears to hear it.

Menenius, Act 2, Scene 2

Menenius is honoring Coriolanus by saying no sacrifice would be too great for him for Rome, but he would not want to be the object of praise.


His nature is too noble for the world. / He would not flatter Neptune for his trident / Or Jove's for power to thunder.

Menenius, Act 3, Scene 1

Menenius describes Coriolanus's lack of humility by saying he would not stoop to honor the gods to have their power.


The service of the foot, / Being once gangrened, is not then respected / For what before it was.

Sicinius, Act 3, Scene 1

Sicinius is saying that no matter how important one's deeds have been they can be forgotten due to one transgression.


There is a world elsewhere ...

Coriolanus, Act 3, Scene 3

Coriolanus is telling the Roman citizens he is breaking from them and will find a new place that will respect who he is.


The beast / With many heads butts me away.

Coriolanus, Act 4, Scene 1

Coriolanus comments to Volumnia, Virgilia, Menenius, and Cominius how the destructive citizens have exiled him wrongly.


I would the gods had nothing else to do / But to confirm my curses.

Volumnia, Act 4, Scene 2

Volumnia is reproaching Sicinius for plotting against Coriolanus.


But out, affection! / All bond and privilege of nature, break!

Coriolanus, Act 5, Scene 3

Coriolanus is unsettled by the emotions created by seeing Volumnia, Virgilia, and Valeria come to appeal to him.


I melt and am not / Of stronger earth than others.

Coriolanus, Act 5, Scene 3

This is Coriolanus's admission he is not above having the feelings of others.


My rage is gone, / And I am struck with sorrow.

Tullus Aufidius, Act 5, Scene 6

Aufidius has released his feelings of having been used by Coriolanus and now laments the loss of one he admired and fought with and not just against.

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