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Little Words, Big Ideas
The ruling class has all the power, the plebeians are rioting in the street, and a brooding hero is about to swoop in to save the day. (Maybe.) Nope, it's not Dark Knight Rises: it's Shakespeare's...
All happy families are alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way. What's true for depressing Russian novels is true for depressing Shakespeare plays, especially ones that portray the ci...
Language and Communication
Coriolanus is interested in the relationship between language and power. Shocking, right? Why on earth would a playwright who makes a living stringing together words have anything to say about the...
Art and Culture (and Politics)
In Coriolanus, Shakespeare tells us over and over again that if you want to get elected to public office, you've got to have serious acting chops—because winning over voters involves a lot of ly...
In Coriolanus, the only way to gain "honor" and virtue is to earn it on the battlefield. Military service is so important to Rome that mothers raise their kids to be killing machines and the Citiz...
If you're a lady in Coriolanus, you have two choices: domineering, aggressive, and vocal Volumnia; or Virgilia, the typical 17th century "good wife." She's chaste, silent, and obedient--all of the...
If excess pride causes Coriolanus' downfall, then he's a lot like a whole laundry list of tragically flawed heroes that have come before him. Seem plausible. Pride goes before a fall, and it defini...
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