Study Guide

Coriolanus Act 1, Scene 4

By William Shakespeare

Act 1, Scene 4

Read the full text of Coriolanus Act 1 Scene 4 with a side-by-side translation HERE.

  • Cut to the city of Corioles, where Caius Martius and Titus Lartius take a little break from battering the city.
  • A group of Volscian Senators show up on the city's walls and start talking trash about how their military leader, Tullus Aufidius, is going to show up any minute and make the Romans wish they had never come here.
  • Next, the Senators send out their Volscian army to throw down with the Roman soldiers.
  • Game on.
  • Caius Martius leads the charge against the Volscians but the Romans are beaten back to their trenches outside the city walls.
  • Martius then gives the Roman troops a little pep talk. And by "pep talk" we mean he curses them out and threatens to kill them himself if they don't start kicking some Volscian butt ASAP. You know, a little Coach Taylor style.
  • Martius chases the Volscian soldiers inside the city gates and disappears while the rest of the soldiers hang back where it's nice and safe.
  • Just as everyone is thinking Caius Martius is a total goner, he shows up at the city gates...covered in blood and sporting some new battle wounds. (His mom is going to be so proud!)
  • Now the other Roman soldiers rush through the gates and ravage the city.
  • Brain Snack: In Ralph Fiennes' 2011 film version of Coriolanus, this battle scene takes place in a contemporary, urban setting that looks more like war-torn Serbia in the 1990's than ancient Rome.