Coriolanus

by: William Shakespeare

  Act 3 Scene 3

page Act 3 Scene 3 Page 4

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COMINIUS

Well, well, no more.

COMINIUS

Okay, that’s enough.

CORIOLANUS

What is the matter
75That being pass’d for consul with full voice,
I am so dishonour’d that the very hour
You take it off again?

CORIOLANUS

How did it happen that I was approved for consul with a unanimous vote and in the next moment I’m disgraced by a change of opinion?

SICINIUS

Answer to us.

SICINIUS

Answer our questions.

CORIOLANUS

Say, then: ’tis true, I ought so.

CORIOLANUS

Well it’s true then. I thought so.

SICINIUS

80We charge you, that you have contrived to take
From Rome all season’d office and to wind
Yourself into a power tyrannical;
For which you are a traitor to the people.

SICINIUS

We accuse you of trying to do away with the established legal system in Rome and to put yourself in a position of tyrannical power. For this you are a traitor to the people.

CORIOLANUS

How! traitor!

CORIOLANUS

How am I a traitor?

MENENIUS

85Nay, temperately; your promise.

MENENIUS

No, stay calm. You promised.

CORIOLANUS

The fires i’ the lowest hell fold-in the people!
Call me their traitor! Thou injurious tribune!
Within thine eyes sat twenty thousand deaths,
In thy hand clutch’d as many millions, in
90Thy lying tongue both numbers, I would say
‘Thou liest’ unto thee with a voice as free
As I do pray the gods.

CORIOLANUS

May the people fall into the fires of the lowest hell! You’re calling me a traitor? You slanderous tribune! If your eyes had killed twenty thousand people, your hands had killed a million, and your lying tongue had killed those numbers together, I would still say to you, ”You lie” with a voice as honest as the one I pray to the gods with.

SICINIUS

Mark you this, people?

SICINIUS

Do you hear this, people?

CITIZENS

To the rock, to the rock with him!

CITIZENS

Throw him from the rock!

SICINIUS

95Peace!
We need not put new matter to his charge:
What you have seen him do and heard him speak,
Beating your officers, cursing yourselves,
Opposing laws with strokes and here defying
100Those whose great power must try him; even this,
So criminal and in such capital kind,
Deserves the extremest death.

SICINIUS

Peace! We don’t need to aggravate him further. What you’ve seen him do and heard him say—beating your officers, speaking ill of you, opposing our laws with force, and now defying those who have the great power to put him on trial—even this, which is criminal and punishable by death, deserves the most severe penalty.