Coriolanus Art and Culture (and Politics) Quotes
How we cite our quotes: (Act.Scene.Line)
Note me this, good friend;
Your most grave belly was deliberate,
Not rash like his accusers, and thus answer'd: (1.1.28-30)
Menenius is one of the few politicians that the plebeians actually like, because he really has their best interests at heart. Ha! Not really. They like him because he's a great story teller and entertainer. Here, he tells the angry plebeians a story (the fable of the belly) in order to get them to stop rioting on the streets of Rome. And it totally works! The plebeians are so mesmerized by Menenius and his ability to tell a good story with a political message that they forget why they're so angry. Moral: if you want to be a politician who is as successful as Menenius, you have to be a good entertainer who is willing and able to out on a good performance for your audience. We'll start planning our campaign now.
It then remains
That you do speak to the people.
I do beseech you,
Let me o'erleap that custom, for I cannot
Put on the gown, stand naked and entreat them,
For my wounds' sake, to give their suffrage: please you
That I may pass this doing. (2.3.133-139)
We know that Menenius is comfortable being a performer slash politician but what about Coriolanus? Not so much. When Coriolanus decides to run for political office, he's advised to wear a "gown" of humility (a special toga that's pretty much a costume at this point) and go before the public to ask for votes. Coriolanus is not too into this idea. In fact, he says that he'd feel "naked" if he had to do this.