Coriolanus: the People’s Enemy

Here is a video clip showing Ralph Fiennes as Coriolanus.  He has been tricked to showing his fatal flaw- his arrogant pride- before the people.  He banishes himself:


There’s no more to be said, but he is banish’d,
As enemy to the people and his country:
It shall be so.


It shall be so, it shall be so.


You common cry of curs! whose breath I hate
As reek o’ the rotten fens, whose loves I prize
As the dead carcasses of unburied men
That do corrupt my air, I banish you;
And here remain with your uncertainty!
Let every feeble rumour shake your hearts!
Your enemies, with nodding of their plumes,
Fan you into despair! Have the power still
To banish your defenders; till at length
Your ignorance, which finds not till it feels,
Making not reservation of yourselves,
Still your own foes, deliver you as most
Abated captives to some nation
That won you without blows! Despising,
For you, the city, thus I turn my back:
There is a world elsewhere.

Exeunt CORIOLANUS, COMINIUS, MENENIUS, Senators, and Patricians


The people’s enemy is gone, is gone!


Our enemy is banish’d! he is gone! Hoo! hoo!

Shouting, and throwing up their caps


This is the dramatic climax.  What do you think of Fiennes here?  Does the incoherent splutter help?  It is tempting, with a play as bloody and violent as Coriolanus, to up the emotional stakes and go for bust.  But here is a different approach to reading in a Shakespeare master class with Ben Kingsley.

This is John Barton, a great Shakespearean, who is surrounded by great actors in this great series of acting masterclasses.  Well worth following!



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