Coriolanus

by: William Shakespeare

Act III, scenes ii-iii; Act IV, scenes i-iv

Somewhere in these scenes, Coriolanus has inwardly made the decision to betray his city. For by the time he is on the road, he is already firmly resolved to seek out Aufidius. In a different tragedy, this treacherous decision would be a critical moment in the play, in which we would have access to the hero's inner turmoil. But Coriolanus has no inner turmoil; unlike Hamlet or Othello or any of the great tragic heroes, he has no inwardness at all. A man of quick decisions and quicker actions, he has no room in his consciousness for agonizing over whether or not to betray his city; he makes his decision, and that decision is final. We find no trace of conflicted feelings or remorse--but then, such sentiments would be alien to his very nature.