Characters Discussed (Cyclopedia of Literary Characters, Revised Third Edition)
Caius Marcius, afterward Caius Marcius Coriolanus (KAY-yuhs MAHR-shuhs kohr-ee-oh-LAY-nuhs), a great warrior of the Roman Republic, a man of immense valor and equally great pride. He does not desire public acclaim for his achievements; his own knowledge of their worth is sufficient. He violently resents having to beg for the voices of the common people, whom he has watched flee from the battlefield in fear, and he is ultimately unable to stifle his contempt long enough to win the consulship. For his arrogance, he is banished from Rome. His alliance with Aufidius to avenge the wrongs he has received from Rome is a manifestation of his fierce pride. The dominant force in his life is the personality of his mother, who has shaped him into the confident, arrogant, and single-minded man he is. Although he cannot obey her injunction to betray himself to win the favor of the people, he is ultimately broken by her will and agrees to make peace between the Volscians and the Romans. There is, after this submission, no course for him but death, and he perishes, branded a traitor by both nations and taunted as “boy” by the Volscians.
Volumnia (vohl-LUHM-nee-uh), his mother, a noble Roman matron who has instilled in her son a strong sense of personal pride, integrity, and a streak of brutality. She dominates both Coriolanus and his wife...
(The entire section is 620 words.)
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Aufidius (Character Analysis)
He is the Volsces' preeminent military hero. Like Coriolanus, his identity is closely tied to his fame as a warrior. The two men share a...
(The entire section is 464 words.)
Cominius (Character Analysis)
He is a consul and the commander of the Roman army. A sensible man, he generally speaks in a deliberate, cautious manner, though sometimes he...
(The entire section is 429 words.)
Coriolanus (Character Analysis)
Caius Marcius Coriolanus dominates the play. He is loud and boisterous, a man of action. His physical strength and courage are almost...
(The entire section is 1273 words.)
Menenius (Character Analysis)
A Roman senator, he is a close friend to Coriolanus. He sees himself as Coriolanus's mentor and adviser. Menenius is constantly urging his...
(The entire section is 512 words.)
Messengers (Character Analysis)
Roman messengers appear in six scenes throughout the play, sometimes bringing news of events and sometimes confirming or contradicting...
(The entire section is 364 words.)
Roman Citizens (Character Analysis)
A number of citizens who are partially individualized characters, but none of them is given a name. Their speech headings are first citizen,...
(The entire section is 642 words.)
Roman Senators (Character Analysis)
They serve as advisers to the consuls, whom they have the power to appoint. These appointments, however, must be confirmed by a vote of the...
(The entire section is 356 words.)
Tribunes (Character Analysis)
Junius Brutus and Sicinius Velutus are two of the tribunes chosen near the beginning of the play to act on behalf of the Roman citizens....
(The entire section is 427 words.)
Volumnia (Character Analysis)
She is Coriolanus's mother and the most complex female character in the play. From one perspective, she may be seen as the ideal Roman...
(The entire section is 638 words.)
Other Characters (Descriptions)
He appears in IV.iii, where the designation for his speeches is the anonymous "Volscian." While traveling from...
(The entire section is 2817 words.)
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