A monologue from the play "Coriolanus" by William Shakespeare

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About this Monologue

  • Character: Caius Martius
  • Gender: Male
  • Age Range(s): Adult (36-50)
  • Type of monologue / Character is: Descriptive
  • Type: Dramatic
  • Period: Renaissance
  • Genre: Tragedy, Drama
  • Description: Caius Martius identifies himself
  • Location: ACT IV, Scene 5

Summary

The play is set in the city of Rome and is based on the legendary Roman general Gaius Martius Coriolanus. In the first scene of the play Caius Martius and several Roman rulers have to deal with a riot of the common people that are protesting because of a shortage of grain. A war soon breaks out between Rome and a neighboring tribe, the Volscians, led by Tullus Aufidius. After a hard battle, Gaius Martius manages to conquer the Volscian's city or Corioles and, having fought with valor, is given the nickname "Coriolanus" because of that.

When he returns to Rome, the Senate decides to make him consul and they ask ...

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Excerpt

CORIOLANUS
My name is Caius Marcius, who hath done
To thee particularly and to all the Volsces
Great hurt and mischief; thereto witness may
My surname, Coriolanus: the painful service,
The extreme dangers and the drops of blood
Shed for my thankless country are requited
But with that surname; a good memory,
And witness of the malice and displeasure
Which thou shouldst bear me: only that name remains;
The cruelty and envy of the people,
Permitted by our dastard nobles, who
Have all forsook me, hath devour'd the rest;
And suffer'd me by the voice of slaves to be
Whoop'd out of Rome. Now this extremity
Hath brought me to thy hearth; not out of hope--
Mistake me not--to save my life, for if
I had fear'd death, of all the men i' the world
I would have 'voided thee, but in mere spite,
To be full quit of those my banishers,
Stand I before thee here. Then if thou hast
A heart of wreak in thee, that wilt revenge
Thine own particular wrongs and stop those maims
Of shame seen through thy country, speed
thee straight,
And make my misery serve thy turn: so use it
That my revengeful services may prove
As benefits to thee, for I will fight
Against my canker'd country with the spleen
Of all the under fiends. But if so be
Thou darest not this and that to prove more fortunes
Thou'rt tired, then, in a word, I also am
Longer to live most weary, and present
My throat to thee and to thy ancient malice;
Which not to cut would show thee but a fool,
Since I have ever follow'd thee with hate,
Drawn tuns of blood out of thy country's breast,
And cannot live but to thy shame, unless
It be to do thee service.



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