Coriolanus

by: William Shakespeare

Original Text

Modern Text

THIRD CONSPIRATOR

20The people will remain uncertain whilst
’Twixt you there’s difference; but the fall of either
Makes the survivor heir of all.

THIRD CONSPIRATOR

The people won’t know how to react if there’s no rivalry between you two, but whoever loses leaves the other man with power over everything.

AUFIDIUS

I know it;
And my pretext to strike at him admits
25A good construction. I raised him, and I pawn’d
Mine honour for his truth: who being so heighten’d,
He water’d his new plants with dews of flattery,
Seducing so my friends; and, to this end,
He bow’d his nature, never known before
30But to be rough, unswayable and free.

AUFIDIUS

I know, and my reason for attacking him is well founded. I put him in this position of power, and I sacrificed my honor for his loyalty. He became so highly esteemed that he watered his new plants with the dew of flattery. He seduced my friends by changing his nature—he was never known before as anything other than rough, unswayable, and unrestrained.

THIRD CONSPIRATOR

Sir, his stoutness
When he did stand for consul, which he lost
By lack of stooping,—

THIRD CONSPIRATOR

Sir, his stubbornness when he was being considered for consul is why he lost. He wouldn’t humble himself.

AUFIDIUS

That I would have spoke of:
35Being banish’d for’t, he came unto my hearth;
Presented to my knife his throat: I took him;
Made him joint-servant with me; gave him way
In all his own desires; nay, let him choose
Out of my files, his projects to accomplish,
40My best and freshest men; served his designments
In mine own person; holp to reap the fame
Which he did end all his; and took some pride
To do myself this wrong: till, at the last,
I seem’d his follower, not partner, and
45He waged me with his countenance, as if
I had been mercenary.

AUFIDIUS

That’s what I was about to say: being banished for his stubbornness, he came to my house and put my knife to his throat. I took him in, made him joint commander of my army, let him do whatever he wanted. I even let him choose men from among my soldiers to carry out his agenda—my best and freshest men. I served his vision myself, helped him do the deeds that he took all the credit for. He wronged me in becoming so prideful. In the end, I looked like his follower, not his partner, and he treated me like I was just a soldier-for-hire.