Coriolanus

by: William Shakespeare

  Act 3 Scene 2

page Act 3 Scene 2 Page 5

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VOLUMNIA

Prithee now,
Go, and be ruled: although I know thou hadst rather
110Follow thine enemy in a fiery gulf
Than flatter him in a bower. Here is Cominius.

VOLUMNIA

Please, go now. Submit to them, although I know you’d rather pursue your enemy through the fires of hell than flatter him in a boudoir. Here’s Cominius.
Enter COMINIUS
COMINIUS enters.

COMINIUS

I have been i’ the market-place; and, sir, ’tis fit
You make strong party, or defend yourself
By calmness or by absence: all’s in anger.

COMINIUS

Sir, I’ve been in the marketplace. You’ll need to argue your case strongly or defend yourself with calmness—or don’t come at all. Everyone is angry.

MENENIUS

115Only fair speech.

MENENIUS

Just speak kindly.

COMINIUS

I think ’twill serve, if he
Can thereto frame his spirit.

COMINIUS

I think that’ll work, if he can control his temper.

VOLUMNIA

He must, and will
Prithee now, say you will, and go about it.

VOLUMNIA

He must, and I beg you, say you will and then go do it.

CORIOLANUS

120Must I go show them my unbarbed sconce?
Must I with base tongue give my noble heart
A lie that it must bear? Well, I will do’t:
Yet, were there but this single plot to lose,
This mould of Martius, they to dust should grind it
125And throw’t against the wind. To the market-place!
You have put me now to such a part which never
I shall discharge to the life.

CORIOLANUS

Do I have to show them my head without a helmet? Do I have to betray my heart and speak words that are lies? Well, I’ll do it. But if I lose, they’ll grind me into dust and throw it against the wind. To the marketplace! You’re asking me to play a part that I will never play convincingly.

COMINIUS

Come, come, we’ll prompt you.

COMINIUS

Come, come, we’ll tell you what to say.

VOLUMNIA

I prithee now, sweet son, as thou hast said
130My praises made thee first a soldier, so,
To have my praise for this, perform a part
Thou hast not done before.

VOLUMNIA

I beg you now, sweet son. You’ve said that my encouragement is what made you into a soldier, so I encourage you now to play this new role.