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} generals against the Volscians.
CAIUS MARCIUS, afterwards Caius MARCIUS CORIOLANUS.
tribunes of the people.
VOLUMNIA, mother to Coriolanus.
Roman and Volscian Senators, Patricians, Ædiles, Lictors,
Soldiers, Citizens, Messengers, Servants to Aufidius, and other Attendants.
SCENE : Rome and the neighbourhood; Corioli and the
CORIOLANUS was first published in the Folio of 1623. The First No quarto edition ever appeared, and the text, printed directly from a MS., abounds in inaccurate punctuation and blundering verse-division.
External evidence of date is wholly wanting. Date of There is no record of its performance, and the in- tion.
Composi. genuity of the 'Allusion' hunters has detected no further traces of its influence than an apparent reference in Fletcher's A King and No King (1611), and another in Jonson's Silent Woman (1609). But style and metre assign it clearly to the close of the tragic period, i.e. to the years 1608-10. The metrical innovation of weak endings,' first employed freely in Antony and Cleopatra, gains ground; extra syllables impede or complicate the flow of the line; melody is harsher and rarer; nowhere has Shakespeare's verse less of lyric manner. These changes were in part prompted by conscious art. But they were also symptoms of a decaying sense of form. Declining freshness of dramatic invention is betrayed too by the preponderance of typical traits in most of the characters. Volumnia is certainly not sufficiently defined as the typical ‘Roman mother, or even Virgilia as the
' devoted wife'; but the individual and personal traits of both are, for Shakespeare, slightly pronounced. Coriolanus alone among the Roman plays
Source of the Plot.
has affinities with the Roman tragedies of Jonson.
Shakespeare's sole source was Plutarch's Life of