by: William Shakespeare

Original Text

Modern Text

The same. The Capitol.
The capitol.
Enter two Officers, to lay cushions
Two Officers enter to set up seats.
Come, come, they are almost here. How many stand
for consulships?
Hurry up. They’re almost here. How many are being considered for the consul?
Three, they say: but ’tis thought of every one
Coriolanus will carry it.
Three, they say. But everyone thinks Coriolanus will get it.
5That’s a brave fellow; but he’s vengeance proud, and
loves not the common people.
He’s a brave man, but he’s too proud, and he doesn’t care about the common people.
Faith, there had been many great men that have
flattered the people, who ne’er loved them; and there
be many that they have loved, they know not
10wherefore: so that, if they love they know not why,
they hate upon no better a ground: therefore, for
Coriolanus neither to care whether they love or hate
him manifests the true knowledge he has in their
disposition; and out of his noble carelessness lets
15them plainly see’t.
There have been many great men who have flattered the people but whom the people never liked, and there have been many that the people liked for unknown reasons. Since they can like someone without knowing why, at least when they dislike someone, it’s for an equally vague reason. So for Coriolanus not to care whether they like him or not shows that he actually knows them quite well, and out of his own indifference to public opinion, he lets them know that he doesn’t care.
If he did not care whether he had their love or no,
he waved indifferently ’twixt doing them neither
good nor harm: but he seeks their hate with greater
devotion than can render it him; and leaves
20nothing undone that may fully discover him their
opposite. Now, to seem to affect the malice and
displeasure of the people is as bad as that which he
dislikes, to flatter them for their love.
If he didn’t care whether or not he had their support, he would be indifferent to either doing them good or harm. But he provokes their hatred with more intensity than they can they can hate him with in return. He has done everything possible for them to see him as their enemy. However, to pretend to desire the ill will of the people is as bad as flattering them for their approval—something he would never do.