Act 5 sc 3 and Act 3 sc 3 in Shakespeare's Coriolanus

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A tragedy typically deals with the downfall of an important character, in a serious play, via a fatal flaw. The audience would feel upset for the character as his weakness is not his fault and his in his nature. A tragedy has an unhappy ending or ongoing poignant events and during Act 5 sc3 and Act 3 sc3 in Shakespeare?s Coriolanus many of these take place.

Coriolanus? weakness is his honesty. As we see later others know how to manipulate this which in turn brings him to his demise. Although he is modest and honourable the common people despise him as he is arrogant about his fighting skills and constantly insults them. ?You dissentious rouges, that, rubbing the poor itch of opinion make yourself scabs?? He speaks his mind and nothing but the truth and because of this the audience first see him as an arrogant character. Due to this at the beginning of the play the citizens are threatening rebellion and call him ?Chief enemy to the people!?

Later on in the play the audience see him as modest as he doesn?t like praise for his great bravery in battle. ?I had rather have my wounds heal again than hear say how I got them.? Coriolanus is a born fighter and is even named after the Roman god of war Mars (Caius Martius). Because of this he receives the name ?Coriolanus? for his brave acts in battle. His mother Volumnia is a very strong, well spoken woman who has great speaking skills. She has brought Coriolanus up to be strong and fearless and follow her teachings, which causes him to be exactly like her in everyway. He has a great grasp of language and uses this to convey his true feelings.

The political system in Rome at the time of the play is a democratic society. This allows the common people to vote for who they want to come to power. This is different to every other city at the time as elsewhere whoever came to power was determined by wealth. This came around after Kings had ruled Rome for years until the last king imposed himself upon a young girl, because of the distress received she later committed suicide in public. The commoners were furious about this and rose up against the king and took over. They took an oath never to allow another king in Rome and created a republic. The people are split into tribes in which each tribe has one vote determined by majority. Coriolanus believes this system to be wrong as he feels that the commoners aren?t able...

... middle of paper ... this insult immediately which allows Martius to see what he has become.

The irony in the scene ultimately makes Coriolanus tragedy apparent. This is due to Coriolanus gradually giving in to the persuasive techniques of his mother. He had previously said that he would not be turned from his target; this gives Aufidius his reason to murder Coriolanus completing his tragedy fully.

There is a long pause and Coriolanus is defeated. He holds his mothers hand and weeps, ?O mother what have you done?? Martius realises his fate and accepts it with dignity, ?But let it come.? Aufidius now has reason to regain his fortune and Coriolanus follows him back to meet his doom.

In the end Coriolanus is brought down by his nature. Shakespeare made Coriolanus? love of his mother so strong that he could not disobey his nature to deny her. She held so much power over him and without knowing it this led her son to his death. Aristotle?s definition of a tragedy was: ?the downfall of an important character via a fatal flaw.? Shakespeare makes this so by making Coriolanus such a noble man. This in turn allows Coriolanus give into his mothers persuasive techniques and leads him to his downfall.

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