Coriolanus

by: William Shakespeare

  Act 2 Scene 3

page Act 2 Scene 3 Page 9

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SICINIUS

Why either were you ignorant to see’t,
Or, seeing it, of such childish friendliness
185To yield your voices?

SICINIUS

You were either too ignorant to see it, or if you did see it, you were too childish and accommodating to deny him your vote.

BRUTUS

Could you not have told him
As you were lesson’d, when he had no power,
But was a petty servant to the state,
He was your enemy, ever spake against
190Your liberties and the charters that you bear
I’ the body of the weal; and now, arriving
A place of potency and sway o’ the state,
If he should still malignantly remain
Fast foe to the plebeii, your voices might
195Be curses to yourselves? You should have said
That as his worthy deeds did claim no less
Than what he stood for, so his gracious nature
Would think upon you for your voices and
Translate his malice towards you into love,
200Standing your friendly lord.

BRUTUS

Couldn’t you have told him as you were instructed? When he had no power and was only a petty servant of the state, he was your enemy. He has always spoken against your freedom and the legal privileges you have. Now that he’s arriving in a position of power and influence on the state, if he remains such an evil enemy to the people, you might have cause to curse yourself for giving him your votes. You should have said that while his acts of bravery do entitle him to the consulship, he should also be gracious and think well of you for giving him your approval. He should transform his hatred toward you into love and become your political advocate.

SICINIUS

Thus to have said,
As you were fore-advised, had touch’d his spirit
And tried his inclination; from him pluck’d
Either his gracious promise, which you might,
205As cause had call’d you up, have held him to
Or else it would have gall’d his surly nature,
Which easily endures not article
Tying him to aught; so putting him to rage,
You should have ta’en the advantage of his choler
210And pass’d him unelected.

SICINIUS

If you’d said that, as you were advised ahead of time, it would have touched his spirit and changed his inclination. You might have gotten a gracious promise from him, which you could have held him to when you needed it. Or else it would have provoked his angry nature, which is easily done, and he would have gone into a rage. You could have used his anger as reason not to vote for him.