Power In Coriolanus

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A common theme in Shakespearean drama is the influence of power on the lives of those who have it, seek it or abuse and lose it. Coriolanus is perhaps the most political of Shakespeare's plays and depicts the story of a man who is born with the potential for greatness yet is burdened with great weakness of excessive pride which leads to his eventual dishonor and death. Coriolanus was a successful warrior but was politically unsophisticated. He attained power as a soldier but did not know how to transfer that power to the peace and prosperity of the people he ruled. He is burdened by the vanity of the Roman aristocracy which refused to accept the common people. Coriolanus was thus crippled by his mother Volumnia whose distorted view of the world and her son's role in it created an emotionally…show more content…
His pride overwhelmed his sensibility and he responded out of ignorance to all situations involving his power. Like Meneius, whose "belly speech" reflects a disdain for the common man, Coriolanus rejected Brutus and others who might have helped him. He refused to accept social cooperation because of his distorted sense of social reality. Without the burden of pride, Coriolanus might have achieved more success in fulfilling social order among his people. Yet Coriolanus is not the tragic hero. He is more the failure because he is only faintly aware of his own conflicts and dilemmas. He believes despotism will be acceptable to the people since he is seeking total control. This is the only way he himself has been guided, through fearful submission to the control of his mother. Ultimately he fails and is destroyed by his failure, a unfortunate man, destined to be a hero but unequipped to transfer that heroism to the government of people he sought to
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