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Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Coriolanus - Act I

Coriolanus
Act I

You souls of geese,
That bear the shapes of men, how have you run
From slaves that apes would beat!

The villagers are gathering with pitchforks and torches looking for Boris Karloff. Or something like that. Actually it’s a bunch of poor Romans who have gathered up those primitive weapons that mobs are often stuck with and are expressing some advanced displeasure with the scarcity and high prices of food. Shakespeare’s economic inequality moment, if you will. A few authority figures, including Caius Marcius, show up and try to reason with them or berate them, as their inclination might be.

Next thing you know, word comes that the Volsces (whoever they are) are rebelling and Marcius is among those sent to put down the rebellion. At first it looks like his boys have been soundly thrashed and he wastes not words in laying into them for their failings. Then fortunes turn and the battle is won, with Marcius being proclaimed Caius Marcius Coriolanus.

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