THE TRAGEDY OF CORIOLANUS by William ShakespeareFree
In ancient Rome, in the aftermath of a famine, the common people, or plebeians, demand the right to set their own price for the city's grain supply. In response to their protests, the ruling aristocracy, or patricians, grant the plebeians five representatives, or tribunes--a decision that provokes the ire of the proud patrician soldier Caius Martius, who has nothing but contempt for the lower classes. At this time, war breaks out with a neighboring Italian tribe, the Volscians, who are led by Martius' great rival, Tullus Aufidius. In the campaign that follows, the Volscians are defeated, and the Rome takes the Italian city of Corioles, thanks to the heroism of Martius. In recognition of his great deeds, he is granted the name Coriolanus. Upon his return to Rome, Coriolanus is given a hero's welcome, and the Senate offers to make him consul. In order to gain this office, however, he must go out and plead for the votes of the plebeians, a task that he undertakes reluctantly. At first,
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