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Quotes for
Coriolanus (Character)
from Coriolanus (1979) (V)

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Coriolanus (2014) (TV)
Coriolanus: Now put your shields before your hearts, and fight with hearts more proof than shields.

Coriolanus: If any think brave death outweighs bad life, and that his country's dearer than himself; let him alone, or so many minded, wave thus, to express his disposition, and follow Martius!

Coriolanus: I thank you, general; but I cannot make my heart consent to take a bribe to pay my sword: I do refuse it, and stand upon my common part with those that have beheld the doing.

Cominius: Know, Rome, that all alone Martius did fight within Corioli gates: where he hath won, with fame, a name to Caius Marcius, these in honour fellows 'Coriolanus.' Welcome to Rome, renowned Coriolanus!
[Crowd chants]
Coriolanus: No more of this; it does offend my heart: pray now, no more.

Coriolanus: Your horror's pardon: I had rather have wounds to heal again than hear say how I got them.
Brutus: Sir, I hope my words disbench'd you not?
Coriolanus: No sir! Yet oft when blows have made me stay, I have fled from words. I'll not stay now to hear my nothings monster'd.

Volscian Lieutenant: How not your own desires?
Coriolanus: No sir, 'twas never my desire yet to trouble the poor with begging.
Volscian Lieutenant: You must think, if we give you any thing, we hope to gain by you.
Coriolanus: Well then, I pray, your price of the consulship?
Emsemble: The price is to ask it kindly.
Coriolanus: [With resentful sarcasm] Kindly? Madam, I pray... let me have it!
[Snaps his fingers]
Coriolanus: I have wounds to show you, which shall be yours in private.
[Looks to citizen]
Coriolanus: Your good voice, sir. What say you? A match, sir. So there's in all two worthy voices begged.
[Citizen walks away]
Coriolanus: Adieu.
[Another citizen approaches]
Coriolanus: Pray you now, if it may stand with the tune of your voices that I may be consul, I have here the customary gown.
Ensemble: You have deserved nobly of your country and you have not deserved nobly.
Coriolanus: Your enigma?
Ensemble: You have been a scourge to your enemies, a rod to her friends. You have not, indeed, loved the common people.
Coriolanus: You should account me the more virtuous that I have not been common in my love. I will, sir, flatter my sworn brother, the people, to earn a dearer estimation of them. 'Tis a condition they account gentle. And since wisdom of their choice is rather to have my hat than my heart I will practice the insinuating nod and be off to them most counterfeitly. Indeed, I may be consul.
Valeria: You have received many wounds for your country.
Coriolanus: I will not not seal your knowledge with showing them.
[Plucks the voucher sarcastically]
Coriolanus: I will make much of your voices, and so trouble you no further.
[Coriolanus and citizen laugh, he with contention]
Coriolanus: Most sweet voices! Better it is to die, better to starve, than crave the hire which first we do deserve. Why in this wolfish toge should I stand here to beg of Hob and Dick that does appear, their needless vouches? Custom calls me to it. What custom wills, in all things should we do it. The dust on antique time would lie unswept and mountainous error be too highly heaped for truth to overpeer. Rather than feel it so, let the high office and the honour go to the one that would do thus.

[Coriolanus picks up Brutus and tosses him from the podium]
Coriolanus: For the mutable, rank-scented many, let them regard me as I do not flatter, and therein behold themselves. I say again, in soothing them, we nourish against our senate the cockle of rebellion, insolence, sedition, which we ourselves have ploughed for, sowed, and scattered by mingling *them* with *us*, the honoured numbered, who lack not virtue, no, nor power, but that which they have given to beggars.
Menenius: Well, not more!
Valeria: We beg you, no more words, pray.
Coriolanus: How now, no more? As for my country, I have shed my blood, not fearing outward force, so shall my lungs coin words till their decay against those measles, which we disdain, should tatter us, yet sought the very way to catch them.
Brutus: You speak of the people as if you were a god to punish.
Sicinia: 'Twere well we let the people know it.
Menenius: What, what? His choler?
Coriolanus: Choler! Were I as patient as the midnight sleep, by Jove, 'twould be my mind.
Sicinia: It is a mind that *shall* remain a poison where it is, not a poison any further.
Coriolanus: 'Shall remain'? Hear you this Triton of the minnows? Mark you hear her absolute 'shall'?
Cominius: 'Twas from the canon.
Coriolanus: 'Shall'? O good but most unwise patricians. Why, you grave but reckless senators have you thus given...
[Coriolanus drops to the floor, picking up vouchers]
Coriolanus: ...Hydra here to choose an officer that with peremptory 'shall', being but the horn and noise of the monster's, wants not spirit say she'll turn your current in a ditch, and make your channels hers? If she have power, then vail your ignorance. If none, awake your dangerous lenity. If you are learned, be not as common fools. If you are not, let them have cushions by you.
[Coriolanus throws the vouchers at Sicinia]

Coriolanus: You are plebeians if they be senators! They choose their magistrates and such a one as she, who puts her 'shall'- her popular 'shall' - against a graver bench than ever frowned in Greece. By Jove herself, it makes the consuls base, and my soul aches to know, when two authorities are up-neither supreme-how soon confusion may enter 'twixt the gap of both and take the one by the other. Whoever gave the consul, to give forth the corn of the store-house gratis, as 'twas used sometime in Greece...
Menenius: Well, well. We'll have no more of that.
Coriolanus: ...though there the people had more absolute power, I say they nourished disobedience, fed the ruin of the state...
Brutus: Why should the people give one that speaks thus their voices?
Coriolanus: I'll give my reasons! More worthier than their voices! They know the corn was not our recompense, resting well assured that never did service for it. Being pressed to the war, even when the navel of the state was touched, they would not thread the gates. This kind of service did not deserve corn gratis. Being in the war, their mutinies and revolts, wherein they showed most valour, spoke not for them. The accusation they have often made against the senate - all cause unborn - could never be the motice of our so frank donation. Well, what then? How shall this bosom multiplied digest the senate's courtesy? Let deeds express what's like to be their words.
[Coriolanus takes a pompous stand]
Coriolanus: 'We did request it, we are the greater poll; and in true fear they gave us our demands.' Thus we debase the nature of our seats and make the rabble call our cares fears, which will in time break ope the locks of the senate and bring in the crows to peck the eagles.
Menenius: Come, enough!
Brutus: Enough! with overmeasure.
Coriolanus: No! Take more! What may be sworn by, both divine and human, seal with I end withal.
[Coriolanus slams his hand down and addresses crowd]
Coriolanus: This double worship, where one part disdain with cause, the other insult without all reason. Where gentry, title, wisdom, cannot conclude but by the yea or no of general ignorance. It must omit real necessities, and give way the while to unstable slightness. Purpose so barred, it follows, nothing is done to purpose. Therefore, beseech you - you that would be more cowardly than wise, that love the fundamental part of the state more than you fear the change on it, and prefer a noble life before a long: pluck out the multitudinous tongue, let them not lick the sweet which is their poison. Your! dishonour mangles true judgment and bereaves the state of that integrity which shall become it. Not having the power to do the good it would for the ill which doth control it.
Brutus: Has said enough.
Sicinia: He has spoken like a traitor, and shall answer as traitors do!

Coriolanus: My name is Caius Martius - who hath done to thee particularly, and to all the Volsces, great hurt and mischief. Thereto witness my surname: Coriolanus. The painful service, the extreme dangers and the drops of blood shed for my thankless country, are requited with that surname. A good memory, and witness of the malice and displeasure which thou shouldst bear me. Only that name remains. The cruelty and envy of the people, permitted by our dastard nobles, who have all forsook me, hath devoured the rest and suffered me by the voice of slaves to be whooped out of Rome. Now this extremity hath brought me to thy hearth. Not out of hope, mistake me not, to save my life, for if I had feared death, of all the men in the world, I would have avoided thee. But in mere spite, to be full quit of those my banishers, stand I before thee here. Then if thou hast a heart of wreck in thee, that wilt revenge thine own particular wrongs, and stop those mains of shame seen through thy country, speed thee straight, and make my misery serve thy turn. So use it that my revengeful service may prove as benefits to thee. For I will fight against my cankered country with the spleen of all the under fiends. But if so be thou darest not this, and that to prove more fortunes, thou art tired, then, in a word, I also am longer to live most weary. And do present my throat to thee and thy ancient malice, which not to cut would show thee but a fool...
[Coriolanus drops to his knees]
Coriolanus: ...since I have ever followed thee with hate, drawn tuns of blood out of thy country's breast, and cannot live but to thy shame, unless it be to do thee service.
[Volscian Lieutenant, who approached Coriolanus from behind with a blade, exchanges the blade with Aufidius's handkerchief]
Aufidius: O Martius, Martius. Each word thou hast spoke hath weeded from my heart a root of ancient envy.
[Aufidius comes from behind Coriolanus, holding the knife to his neck]
Aufidius: If Jupiter should from yon cloud speak divine things and say 'tis true'...
[Aufidius kisses Coriolanus's forehead]
Aufidius: ...I'd not believe them more than thee... all noble Martius!
[From behind, Aufidius pretends to cut Coriolanus's throat and runs around]
Aufidius: Let me twine my arms about that body, where against my grained ash an hundred times hath broke and scarred the moon with splinters.
[Aufidius drops in front of a shaken Coriolanus, pulling at his arms]
Aufidius: Here I clip the anvil of my sword, and do contest as hotly and as nobly with my love, as ever in ambitious strength I did contend against thy valour.
[Holding his face, Aufidius gives Coriolanus a prolonged kiss on the lips]
Aufidius: Know thou first, I loved the maid I married...
[Aufidius stand up in excitement]
Aufidius: ...never a man sighed truer breath. But that I see thee here, thou noble thing, more dances rapt my heart...
[Coriolanus rises, mesmerized by Aufidius's excited speech]
Aufidius: ...then when I first my wedded mistress saw bedstride my threshold, why, thou Mars, I tell, we have a power on foot. And I had purpose once more to hew thy target from thy brow or lose my arm for it. Thou hast beat me out twelve several times, and I have nightly since dreamt of encounters 'twixt thyself and me. We have been down together in my sleep...
[Aufidius's hand moves to Coriolanus's face, to his throat]
Aufidius: ...unbuckling helms, fisting each other's throat, and waked half dead with nothing. Worthy Martius, had we no quarrel else to Rome, but that art thence banished, we would muster all from twelve to seventy, and pouring war into the bowels of ungrateful Rome, like a bold flood o'er-bear... Come, go in, and take our friendly senators by the hands, who now are here, taking their leave of me, who am prepared against your territories, though not for Rome itself.
Coriolanus: Bless me, gods.
[Coriolanus and Aufidius embrace in friendship]

Coriolanus: Would you have me False to my nature? Rather say I play The man I am.


Coriolanus (2011)
Caius Martius Coriolanus: I'll fight with none but thee, for I do hate thee.
Tullus Aufidius: We hate alike.

Caius Martius Coriolanus: O, a kiss Long as my exile, sweet as my revenge!

Caius Martius Coriolanus: He that will give good words to thee will flatter beneath abhorring. What would you have, you curs that like nor peace nor war? The one affrights you, the other makes you proud. He that trusts to you where he should find you lions, finds you hares; where foxes, geese. Who deserves greatness, deserves your hate.

Caius Martius Coriolanus: [shouting agitated] By Jove himself, it makes the consuls base, and my soul aches to know when two authorities are up, neither supreme, how soon confusion may enter twixt the gap of both and take the one by the other. Thus we debase the nature of our seats and make the rabble call our cares fears, which will, in time, break open the locks of the senate, and bring in the crows to peck the eagles!

Tullus Aufidius: What's thy name?
Caius Martius Coriolanus: A name unmusical to the Volscians' ears, and harsh in sound to thine.
Tullus Aufidius: Say... what's thy name? Thou has a grim appearance. What's thy name?
Caius Martius Coriolanus: [taking a step forward] Know'st thou me yet?
Tullus Aufidius: I know thee not. Thy name?
Caius Martius Coriolanus: My name is Caius Martius, who hath done to thee particularly, and to all the Volsces, great hurt and mischief. Thereto witness my surname... Coriolanus. Only that name remains. The cruelty and envy of the people who have all forsook me, hath devoured the rest and suffered me by the voice of slaves, be whooped out of Rome. Now this extremity hath brought me to thy hearth. Not out of hope, mistake me not to save my life. For if I had feared death, of all men in the world I would have avoided thee. But, in mere spite, to be full quit of those my banishers, stand I before thee here. I will fight against my cankered country with the spleen of all the under fiends. But if thou dares not this, then I present my throat to thee and to thy ancient malice. Which not to cut would show thee but a fool, since I have ever followed thee with hate, and cannot live but to thy shame, unless it be to do thee service.