Coriolanus

/kawr'ee euh lay"neuhs, kor'-/, n.
1. Gaius (or Gnaeus) Marcius /gay"euhs/ or /nee"euhs, mahr"shee euhs/, fl. late 5th century B.C., legendary Roman military hero.
2. (italics) a tragedy (1608?) by Shakespeare.

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▪ work by Shakespeare
      the last of the so-called political tragedies by William Shakespeare (Shakespeare, William), written about 1608 and published in the First Folio of 1623 seemingly from the playbook, which had preserved some features of the authorial manuscript. The five-act play, based on the life of Gnaeus Marcius Coriolanus (Coriolanus, Gnaeus Marcius), a legendary Roman hero of the late 6th and early 5th centuries BC, is essentially an expansion of the Plutarchan biography in Parallel Lives. Though it is Elizabethan in structure, it is markedly Classical in tone.

      The action of the play follows Caius Marcius (afterward Caius Marcius Coriolanus) through several phases of his career. He is shown as an arrogant young nobleman in peacetime, as a bloodstained and valiant warrior against the city of Corioli, as a modest victor, and as a reluctant candidate for consul. When he refuses to flatter the Roman citizens, for whom he feels contempt, or to show them his wounds to win their vote, they turn on him and banish him. Bitterly he joins forces with his enemy Aufidius, a Volscian, against Rome. Leading the enemy to the edge of the city, Coriolanus is ultimately persuaded by his mother, Volumnia—who brings with her Coriolanus's wife, Virgilia, and his son—to make peace with Rome, and in the end he is killed at the instigation of his Volscian ally.

      Coriolanus is in many ways unusual for Shakespearean drama: it has a single narrative line, its images are compact and striking, and its most effective moments are characterized by understatement or silence. When the banished Coriolanus returns at the head of the opposing army, he says little to Menenius, the trusted family friend and politician, or to Volumnia, both of whom have come to plead for Rome. His mother's argument is long and sustained, and for more than 50 lines he listens, until his resolution is broken from within. Then, as a stage direction in the original edition testifies, he “holds her by the hand, silent.” In his own words, he has “obey[ed] instinct” and betrayed his dependence; he cannot “stand / As if a man were author of himself / And knew no other kin.” Thus is his desire for revenge defeated. While his mother is hailed as “patroness, the life of Rome,” Coriolanus stands accused of treachery by Aufidius and is cut down by Aufidius's supporters.

      For a discussion of this play within the context of Shakespeare's entire corpus, see William Shakespeare: Shakespeare's plays and poems (Shakespeare, William).

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Universalium. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Coriolanus — Coriolanus,   Gnaeus Mạrcius Coriolanus, Koriolan, legendärer römischer Held des frühen 5. Jahrhunderts v. Chr.; kämpfte nach der Überlieferung erfolgreich gegen die Volsker (Eroberung der Volskerstadt Corioli 493 v. Chr.), ging aber, als Gegner …   Universal-Lexikon

  • Coriolanus — [kôr΄ē ə lā′nəs] n. a tragedy ( c. 1608) by Shakespeare, based on the story of Gaius Marcius Coriolanus, a legendary Roman general of the 5th cent. B.C …   English World dictionary

  • Coriolānus — Coriolānus, Cajus (Cnejus) Marcius C., römischer Patricier, kämpfte zuerst gegen die aus Rom vertriebenen Tarquinier u. leitete 493 v. Chr. die Belagerung u. Einnahme der volskischen Stadt Corioli (woher sein Beiname C.) u. verschaffte durch… …   Pierer's Universal-Lexikon

  • Coriolānus — Coriolānus, Cn. Marcius, röm. Patrizier, zeichnete sich schon als Jüngling bei der Belagerung der Volskerstadt Corioli aus, weshalb er den Ehrennamen C. erhalten haben soll. Als aber zur Linderung einer Teuerung der Senat in Sizilien Getreide… …   Meyers Großes Konversations-Lexikon

  • Coriolanus — Coriolānus, Beiname des sagenhaften röm. Patriziers Gnäus Marcius nach der von ihm eroberten volskischen Stadt Coriŏli. Als Feind der Plebejer 491 verbannt, ging er zu den Volskern und zog als ihr Anführer gegen Rom; nur durch das Flehen seiner… …   Kleines Konversations-Lexikon

  • Coriolanus — Coriolanus, C. Marcius, erwarb sich früh im Kampfe gegen den vertriebenen König Tarquinius Superbus eine Bürgerkrone, 493 v. Chr. durch Eroberung der festen Volskerstadt Corioli den Beinamen C. Entschiedener Gegner der Plebejer soll er sich der… …   Herders Conversations-Lexikon

  • Coriolanus — This article is about the Shakespeare play. For other uses, see Coriolanus (disambiguation). Coriolanus, Act V, Scene III. Engraved by James Caldwell from a painting by Gavin Hamilton. Coriolanus is a tragedy by William Shakespeare, believed to… …   Wikipedia

  • Coriolanus — Gnaeus Marcius Coriolanus (auch kurz Coriolan; * vor 505 v. Chr.,† (ermordet) um 488 v. Chr. in Antium) war der Sage nach ein römischer Held und Feldherr, dessen Stolz, Unverstand und Starrsinn zu Auseinandersetzungen mit den Plebejern führte. Er …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Coriolanus — Coriolan  Pour l’article homonyme, voir Coriolan (Shakespeare).  Veturia aux pieds de Coriolan par Gaspare Landi Photo courtesy of …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Coriolanus — n. legendary Roman military hero …   English contemporary dictionary

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