Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Coriolanus, by William Shakespeare

I didn't know about this play until I was in high school. My dad saw a line from it written somewhere and thought I'd like it, so he wrote it down for me: "When the sea was calm all boats alike showed mastership in floating."

Now, years later, I read the play itself, and I really liked it. Coriolanus is a man who does heroic deeds because they are the right things to do. He is brought down for his supposed pride by those who only do such deeds for the commendation they bring. The textual analysis essays at the back of the play are all about how Coriolanus is an anti-hero and deserves his downfall. I completely disagree; he shows how virtue is degraded by political interpretation. Aufidius says:

So our virtues Lie in th' interpretation of the time, And power, unto itself most commendable, Hath not a tomb so evident as a chair T' extol what it hath done. --Act 4, Scene 7, 52-56

Rating: seven out of seven giant inflatable monkeys.

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