Coriolanus Questions and Answers
by William Shakespeare

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Why are the plebians so hostile toward Coriolanus?

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Caius Marcius was an outstanding Roman general. His courage while fighting for the Roman army inspired the commander, Cominius, to bestow upon him a fourth name - Coriolanus.

Coriolanus was loyal and devoted to the Roman army. So much so that when they returned after their victory over the Tarquin kings, he refused to open the stores of grains to ordinary citizens. His reasoning being that lacking military service, they were unworthy to be fed.

He even went so far as to announce that for patricians to be subservient to plebeians was comparable to “crows pecking eagles”. A statement which saw him exiled from Rome by two tribunes.

His arrogance lead him to tell the tale of how, in actuality, he banished Rome from HIS presence. In a misguided attempt to shame Rome for exiling him, he undertakes to hire an assassin to kill him.

These exploits sound more like the antics of a petulant, jilted lover than a courageous Roman general. No wonder the plebeians had no tolerance for him.

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revolution | Student

It can be seen in the text that plebians attitude toward Corioianus was very hostile as one member of the furious mob started the madness by saying that:

"Let us kill him, and we'll have corn at our own price"

implying their intense distaste towards him and they were so angry at him they wanted to kill him as being one of the Romian patrician class, he had deprieved them of their basic and essential sustenance like food and water, but it makes no mention that the lower classes in the distribution monarchy that they were suffering from hunger and starvation only that the corn was way too high for their expectations, which means it is priced too expensive for them to buy, leading them to less stocks of corn, so they were hungry, leading them to be hostile or mad towars him for giving them less food and keeping the profit to themselves