LAST TIME ON CORIOLANUS: After his ham-fisted attempts to placate the angry mob of plebeians fails spectacularly, Coriolanus is banished from Rome, effective immediately.
Coriolanus does not waste time with long goodbyes. He barely speaks to his wife in this scene, apart from asking her to stop lamenting so loudly. He does, however, have a great line to say to his mother:
Resume that spirit, when you were wont to say,
If you had been the wife of Hercules,
Six of his labours you'd have done, and saved
Your husband so much sweat.
That's Volumnia for you. I can just see her now... "Hercules, you're slaying that Nemean Lion all wrong, you let me do that! .... Hercules, that's not how you behead a Hydra! This is how you behead a Hydra!"
In case you think my portrayal of Volumnia is over the top, I just want to point out that the reaction of the tribunes when they see her coming is, in fact, "Let's not meet her." Everyone in Rome knows how intense Coriolanus's mum is.
Shakespeare sticks this little scene with the Roman spy and the Volscian spy in to remind people what's going on, in case they fell asleep earlier in the play. It also reminds people that the Volscians are still around, even though we haven't seen them since Act 1.
Tune in again tomorrow, when Coriolanus meets Aufidius once again! Ooooo, drama!