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Coriolanus Act 3, Scene 1 Summary
On a street in Rome, Coriolanus, Cominius, and Titus Lartius have a little chit-chat about Tullus Aufidius. Apparently, Aufidius has slapped together a new Volscian army that is ready to rumble with Rome again. Oh, this can't be good. Now Sicinius and Brutus show up with more bad news: the plebeians have changed their minds and no longer want Coriolanus to be elected consul. They're all "Gee. Tough break, Coriolanus." Coriolanus is seriously ticked off when he hears the news. He accuses the tribunes of turning the people against him. (Which they did, by the way.) Naturally, Sicinius and Brutus act all innocent and go through a big "Who, us?" routine. Then Coriolanus does exactly what the tribunes were hoping he would do. He flips out and turns into a giant rage-a-holic who says all the wrong things. He bashes the plebeians and goes off about how much he hates them and why he thinks the "rabble" shouldn't have any say in how a government is run. Coriolanus then threatens to take away the plebeians' right to elect tribunes. Big mistake. Sicinius and Brutus accuse Coriolanus of treason and demand that he be arrested ASAP. (Remember, the whole concept of a Roman Republic revolves around the idea that the government is elected by voters who have a say in how things should be run.) By this time, the mob of plebeians has rushed back onto the scene to demand Coriolanus' death. Fortunately for Coriolanus, the Senators help him escape the angry mob. Sicinius tells the mob that Coriolanus is a "disease that must be cut away." (Get your highlighters out because that's important. More on this in "Symbols.") Menenius finally stops the rioting when he tells the mob that he'll try to talk some sense into Coriolanus and promises to bring him to the marketplace for a public meeting.
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