Coriolanus Other Characters
by William Shakespeare

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Other Characters

(Shakespeare for Students)

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Adrian

He appears in IV.iii, where the designation for his speeches is the anonymous "Volscian." While traveling from Antium to Rome, Adrian unexpectedly meets Nicanor, a Roman spy. Adrian welcomes the news that Nicanor is bringing to Antium: Coriolanus has been banished, the Roman nobles are irate, and the political situation is unstable.

Aediles

They are minor public officials who serve as assistants to the tribunes. In III.i, after Brutus and Sicinius declare that Coriolanus is a traitor, the aediles are instructed to seize him. Coriolanus resists arrest and strikes the aediles. In III.iii, following orders from the tribunes, an aedile assembles a crowd of plebeians and tells them what to say and do when Coriolanus returns to the marketplace to answer the charges against him. The aedile helps inflame the mob against Coriolanus. In IV.vi, a report about the Volscian army's renewed attack on Roman territories is relayed to the tribunes by an aedile. The tribunes scoff at the news and dismiss it as a rumor.

Brutus

See Tribunes

Caius Marcius

See Coriolanus

Citizens

See Roman Citizens and Volscian Citizens

Conspirators

Allies of Aufidius, they appear in the final scene of the play. The conspirators point out to Aufidius that Coriolanus is more popular with the Volscian army than he is. They complain that the new treaty with Rome has deprived them of glory and the spoils of war, and they declare their willingness to help bring about Coriolanus's downfall. After Aufidius has taunted Coriolanus into an explosive rage, the conspirators clamor for his death, inciting the people further. A Volscian nobleman tries to calm the crowd, but after a final exchange of insults between Coriolanus and Aufidius, the conspirators rush at Coriolanus. Shouting "Kill, kill, kill, kill, kill" (V.vi.130), they stab him to death.

Gentlewoman

She is a companion or attendant of Volumnia. She appears in I.iii and announces that Valeria has "come to visit" (I.iii.26).

Herald

He makes a formal speech, at II.i.162-66, saluting Coriolanus as a hero and welcoming him back to Rome after the defeat of the Volscians.

Junius Brutus

See Tribunes

Lartius

He is one of Rome's leading generals. Though his fame and accomplishments are overshadowed by Coriolanus's, Lartius doesn't appear to resent this. When he learns that his friend has entered Corioles by himself and is likely dead, Lartius delivers an impromptu, though premature, eulogy (I.iv.52-61). As he evokes an image of a man who was a unique soldier and the terror of Rome's enemies, Coriolanus himself appears, covered in blood but most definitely alive. Inspired by his bravery and determination, Lartius and the Roman soldiers enter Corioles with their hero and seize control of the city. Lartius stays behind in Corioles while his friend goes of to assist Cominius; he's only able to join the others when the battle is nearly over. In his last appearance in the play, Lartius comes to Rome with news about Aufidius. He tells Cominius and Coriolanus that the Volscian leader is presently living in Antium and that his enmity toward Coriolanus is stronger than ever.

Lictors

Minor public officials, they serve as ushers for the tribunes. Lictors precede Sicinius and Brutus when they enter the senate chamber at II.ii.37.

Lieutenant

See Roman Lieutenant and Volscian Lieutenant

Marcius

See Coriolanus

Nicanor

He appears in IV.iii, where the designation for his speeches is the anonymous "Roman." Nicanor is a spy. He is on his way to Antium when he meets a Volscian citizen named Adrian. Nicanor tells Adrian about the current struggles between the plebeians, on the one hand, and "the senators, patricians and nobles" (IV.iii.14-15), on the other. In Nicanor's opinion, the nobles are so disturbed by Coriolanus's banishment that they are ready to strip the people of all the power that has recently been granted them.

Officers

Two minor functionaries, they appear at the beginning of II.ii. As they arrange cushions in the senate chamber in preparation for a meeting there,...

(The entire section is 2,770 words.)