Edward Dowden (1875) declared that ''the subject of Coriolanus is the ruin of a noble life through the sin of pride''. Discuss this statement.
Explain how pride brought the banishment of Rome in Coriolanus.
What are the things that Caius Martius Coriolanus do due to pride that led him to a downfall; a ruin in his life.
How far Edward Dowden's statement is true?
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Discuss the play's political stance.
The plot centers around a class conflict, between the political and economic elite, or patricians, and the poorer but more numerous plebeians. The recent expulsion of Rome's kings has created a power vacuum, and the two classes now fight over whether elite opinion or the popular will should hold sway in the Roman polity. As a number of critics have pointed out, these same issues of class conflict and the question of oligarchic vs. popular rule similarly plagued Shakespeare's own time, as tensions rose between King James and the English Parliament. However, the playwright veils his own point of view on such issues with deliberate ambiguity. On the one hand, Coriolanus's expulsion seems to be a clear warning about the dangerous volatility of the popular will; the plebeians quickly bend under the tribunes' manipulation instead of considering Coriolanus' service to his country. However, while his exile seems unjust, Coriolanus remains manifestly unsuited for the consulship, in both character and temperament; his angry contempt for the plebeians seems to stem less from political principle than from self-interest and pride. Thus, the play vividly presents political issues while refraining from taking sides.
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