Coriolanus : Act Three
PLOT UPDATE: Having returned triumphant to Rome, Coriolanus is prompted by his mother to stand for the position of consul. This requires him to go before the people and ask them for their support. He does so, but in a very grudging manner. Still, the rather malleable populace give him their voices. However, the tribunes then remind the people just exactly how much Coriolanus hates them, and how much they hate him, and the whole pack of them rush off to stop Coriolanus from becoming consul.
This was a really difficult scene to cartoonify, as it is mostly people ranting furiously at each other, but one of the great moments is when one of the lowly tribunes tries to tell Coriolanus what he "shall" do. The resulting diatribe is scathing.
Coriolanus may be a fantastic soldier, but he just does not know when to keep his big mouth shut. Here's a quick quiz for you:
Q: When a rival political faction attempts to strip you of power, do you:
A. Accept their judgement and relinquish the office that you didn't want in the first place?
B. Attempt to come to a reasonable compromise?
C. Fight in the courts to clear your name and retain power?
D. Insult everybody and rant about wanting to eliminate the people's representatives from the Republic?
If you answered "D", congratulations! You might just be a stiff-necked, stubborn, self-righteous prick, just like Coriolanus!
In other news, the line "Triton of the minnows" is fantastic. It has all the connotations of "big fish in a little pond", but with added scorn and derision. Try using it at work this week!
There is actually a fully-fledged brawl here, where the patricians all rally around Coriolanus and force the tribunes and the plebeians to retreat, but my artistic talents can't quite handle brawls yet.
Spare a thought for Menenius, who is trying so hard to be the voice of reason and conciliation here, but is thwarted at every turn by the man he is trying to defend.
Coriolanus doesn't listen to anyone. Except his mother. He listens to his mother. This is one of the things you need to take away from this scene.
"Don't lose your temper, Coriolanus." Possibly the five most futile words in the English language? A strong candidate, anyways.
Everyone always talks about Coriolanus's reaction to his banishment, namely his "I banish you!" proclamation. It's a classic "You can't fire me - I quit!" moment, and is a perfect reflection of how his mind works. He's completely in control of his banishment, a fact that comes back to bite Rome in the proverbial butt soon enough. Here's a video compilation:
0:00 - BBC Shakespeare, 1984, Alan Howard
1:25 - Coriolanus, 2013, Ralph Fiennes
Both these performances are good, but Fiennes's makes me want to hide under a table. He is straight-up apoplectic.
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