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{war, force, army}
{god, call, give}
{son, year, death}
{law, state, case}
{government, party, election}
{city, population, household}
{mi², represent, 1st}

Coriolanus is a tragedy by William Shakespeare, believed to have been written between 1605 and 1608. The play is based on the life of the legendary Roman leader, Gaius Marcius Coriolanus.



  • Caius Martius, later surnamed Coriolanus
  • Menenius Agrippa, Senator of Rome
  • Cominius, Titus Lartius, generals
  • Volumnia, Coriolanus's mother
  • Virgilia, Coriolanus's wife
  • Young Martius, Coriolanus's son
  • Valeria, a lady of Rome
  • Sicinius Velutus, Junius Brutus, tribunes of Rome
  • Citizens of Rome
  • Soldiers in the Roman Army
  • Tullus Aufidius, general of the Volscian army
  • Aufidius's Lieutenant
  • Aufidius's Servingmen
  • Conspirators with Aufidius
  • Volscian Lords
  • Volscian *A gentlewoman, an usher, Roman and Volscian senators and nobles, captains in the Roman army, officers, lictors


The play opens in Rome shortly after the expulsion of the Tarquin kings. There are riots in progress, after stores of grain were withheld from ordinary citizens. The rioters are particularly angry at Caius Martius,[1] a brilliant Roman general whom they blame for the grain's being taken away. The rioters encounter a patrician named Menenius Agrippa, as well as Caius Martius himself. Menenius tries to calm the rioters, while Martius is openly contemptuous, and says that the plebeians were not worthy of the grain because of their lack of military service. Two of the tribunes of Rome, Brutus and Sicinius, privately denounce Martius. He leaves Rome after news arrives that a Volscian army is in the field.

The commander of the Volscian army, Tullus Aufidius, has fought Martius on several occasions and considers him a blood enemy. The Roman army is commanded by Cominius, with Martius as his deputy. While Cominius takes his soldiers to meet Aufidius' army, Martius leads a rally against the Volscian city of Corioles. The siege of Corioles is initially unsuccessful, but Martius is able to force open the gates of the city, and the Romans conquer it. Even though he is exhausted from the fighting, Martius marches quickly to join Cominius and fight the other Volscian force. Martius and Aufidius meet in single combat, which only ends when Aufidius' own soldiers drag him away from the battle.

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