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Gripping tragedy on the grand scale set in ancient Rome.
Coriolanus, the hero of the title, is a succesful general who seeks political power in the wake of the departure of the Tarquin kings. Shakespeare largely based his tale on the writings of Plutarch.
Less often performed than Shakespeare's more famous tragedies such as King Lear and Hamlet, Coriolanus the general is a proud and militaristic hero. Unlike Lear and Hamlet he does not confide in the audience through soliloquies and so it is more difficult to understand and empathise with his feelings and motivations.
Nonetheless the backdrop of political upheaval is an eternally topical theme and there have been some classic performances of the role, most famously by Laurence Olivier. It is a sombre play but insightful and nuanced on political machinations. In the end, we may not understand or even agree with Coriolanus' political stance but we can still sympathise with the way in which his straightforward approach is outmanoevred.
Coriolanus was originally published in the 'First Folio' of 1623.