Coriolanus Questions and Answers
by William Shakespeare

Coriolanus book cover
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Compare and contrast the characters of Coriolanus and Aufidius as well as their relationship with each other.

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Coriolanus and Aufidius begin the play as military leaders from opposing sides. While Coriolanus is a Roman general, Aufidius leads the Volscians. Coriolanus is unyielding, brutal, and relentless in battle; similarly, the same can be said for Aufidius. If there's anything the two have in common at the beginning of the play, it's their prevailing and consuming hatred for each other. Each man's chief goal is to annihilate the other in hand-to-hand combat.

Despite their mutual hatred, however, the two men clearly admire each other. This can be seen in their meeting in Act 4 Scene 5, when Aufidius generously calls his arch enemy "noble Marcius," "worthy Martius," and "Mars" (the god of war). In fact, Aufidius really lays on the compliments, at one point using a sexual analogy and obvious sexual innuendoes to characterize his image of Coriolanus. Indeed, some of Aufidius' words may have made the typical English theatergoer blush:

Let me twine Mine arms about that body...Know thou first,
I loved the...

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