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What events occur during the consulship ceremony in Coriolanus?

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The consulship ceremony was meant to be a simple, traditional ceremony where Coriolanus would meet with representatives of the people of Rome. However, it quickly deteriorates, as Coriolanus angrily berates and insults the citizens. As a result of this meeting, Coriolanus is denied the consulship of Rome, and he's ultimately banished from Rome entirely.

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In act 2, scene 2 of William Shakespeare's Coriolanus, Caius Marcius, honored with the title "Coriolanus" for his victory over the Volscians at Corioli, is urged by his friend Menenius to speak to the people of Rome in order to secure his election as Consul of Rome. Coriolanus knows his shortcomings as a speaker, and as he holds nothing but contempt for the common Roman people, he asks to be excused from speaking to them:

CORIOLANUS. I do beseech you,

Let me o'erleap that custom, for I cannot

Put on the gown, stand naked and entreat them,

For my wounds' sake, to give their suffrage: please you

That I may pass this doing. (2.2.158-162)

Menenius and the tribunes Sicinius and Brutus insist that Coriolanus observe the custom of addressing the people:

SICINIUS. Sir, the people

Must have their voices; neither will they bate

One jot of ceremony. (2.2.164-166)

Coriolanus reluctantly agrees to take part in the "ceremony."

In act 2, scene 3, Coriolanus makes his speech to a group of citizens representing the people of Rome, but even though he wears what Brutus calls "the napless vesture of humility" (2.1.260)—a traditional poor man's worn, threadbare toga—Coriolanus is simply unable to humble himself. He proudly proclaims his accomplishments and displays his disdain for the common people of Rome.

What was to have been little more than the formality of a traditional, ceremonial meeting between Coriolanus and representative of the Roman citizenry rapidly deteriorates into a series of contentious confrontations between Coriolanus and small contingents of citizens whom Coriolanus emphatically berates and insults.

The result of the ceremony is that the citizens revoke their approval of Coriolanus as Consul, and Coriolanus is ultimately banished from Rome for being an “enemy to the people and his country” (3.3.147).

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