Coriolanus/#1/Quotes and Answers

Quote: “I speak this in hunger for bread, not in
thirst for revenge.”

Answer:  Act 1, Scene 1,
Lines 22-23.  First Citizen to Second
Citizen.  As the play opens, we learn that the plebeians of Rome are famished and desperately looking for more corn. The year is about 500 B.C. The Frist Citizen helps to inflame those assembled, saying “Caius Martius is chief enemy to the people. Let us kill him.” Martius is a patrician and a senator. The First Citizen says “our sufferance is a gain to them,” the ‘them’ being the patrician-senators who determine how much and when corn is distributed.

Coriolanus/#2/Quotes and Answers

Quote:  “You shall find no public benefit which you
receive but it comes from the Senate to you.”

Answer:  Act 1, Scene 1,
Lines 149-151.  Menenius to the First
Citizen.  Menenius is a kind and gentle older patrician and is an adviser to Martius. Menenius uses a metaphor where the plebeians represent “the whole body” and the patricians (the senators) represent the food “storehouse.” He says the senate is the “belly” that sends “general food through the rivers of your blood to the heart, brain and strongest nerves and small inferior veins.” This quote among other comments made by Menenius was not well received by the plebeians.

Coriolanus/#3/Quotes and Answers

Quote:  “Hang ‘em!
They said that dogs must eat, that meat was made for mouths, that the
gods sent not corn for the rich men only.”

Answer:  Act 1, Scene 1,
Lines 202-206.  Martius to Menenius.  Martius has no use for the plebeians, telling them “He that depends upon your favors swims with fins of lead and hews down oaks with rushes. You cry against the noble Senate, who, under the gods, keeps you in awe.” He turns to Menenius and asks “What’s their seeking?” Menenius replies “For corn at their own rates.” Martius responds with this quote.

Coriolanus/#4/Quotes and Answers

Quote:  “To break the heart of generosity, and make
old power look pale.”

Answer:  Act 1, Scene 1,
Lines 218-219.  Martius to Menenius.  Martius tells Menenius that the senate has granted the plebeians “tribunes to defend their vulgar wisdoms.” He tells Menenius that plebeians now have the tribunes to — and then offers this quote. Menenius replies “This is strange.” The two tribunes, Brutus and Sicinius, neither one a lightweight, play a major role in the play. Martius proceeds to tell the plebeians “Go, get you home, you fragments!”

Coriolanus/#5/Quotes and Answers

Quote:  “He is a lion that I am proud to hunt.”

Answer:  Act 1, Scene 1,
Lines 233-234.  Martius to Cominius.  Cominius is the senior Roman general. We learn that the “Volces are in arms,” the Volces being the Volscians, a city-state and an enemy to Rome. The leader of the Volces is Tullus Aufidius. Martius says “I sin in envying his nobility, and were I anything but what I am, I would wish me only he.” He then offers this quote.

Coriolanus/#6/Quotes and Answers

Quote:  “I was pleased to let him seek danger where
he was like to find fame.”

Answer:  Act 1, Scene 3,
Lines 12-13.  Volumnia to Virgilia.   Volumnia is Martius’ mother; Virgilia is his wife. Virgilia is worried about her husband’s intense interest in military adventures. Volumnia tries to soothe her, saying that when he was a baby I considered “how honor would become such a person.” She offers Virgilia this quote. Virgilia responds with “But had he died in the business, madam, how then?” Volumnia says “I had rather had eleven die nobly for their country than one indulge himself out of action.” Martius is his mother’s son!

Coriolanus/#7/Quotes and Answers

Quote:  “He had rather see the swords and hear a drum
than look upon his schoolmaster.

Answer:  Act 1, Scene 3,
Lines 55-56.  Volumnia to Valeria.  Valeria is a friend of Virgilia, Volumnia’s daughter-in-law. Volumnia and Virgilia are having a heated conversation. Valeria enters and tries to change the subject, asking them “How does your little son?” The little son is Martius Junior. This is Martius Junior’s grandmother’s (Volumnia’s) quote.

Coriolanus/#8/Quotes and Answers

Quote:  “We come off like Romans, neither foolish in
our stands nor cowardly in our withdrawal.”

Answer:   Act 1, Scene 6, Lines 5-6.  Cominius to soldiers.  The Roman forces, led Titus Lartius and Martius, have taken and secured the Volces city of Corioles. Cominius is as proud of his troops as he can be.

Coriolanus/#9/Quotes and Answers

Quote:  “He, who thinks brave death outweighs bad
life, and that his country’s dearer than himself, wave.”

Answer:  Act 1, Scene 6,
Lines 72-75.  Martius to assembled Roman
soldiers.  A wounded Martius, having just returned in triumph from the taking of Corioles, has received permission from Cominius to lead a mission to seek and destroy Aufidius and his Antiates. Martius will initiate his mission at Antium, the other major Volces city. Martius has permission to lead a few good men in the effort. This quote is his appeal to the assembled.

Coriolanus/#10/Quotes and Answers

“Five times I have fought him, and so often hath he beat me.  He wouldst beat me, I think, should we
encounter as often as we eat.”

Answer: Act 1, Scene 10,
Lines 7-10.   Aufidius to a soldier.  Martius and his small band of a few good men fight Aufidius and his men, defeating them. Aufidius retreats to the Volces camp. Aufidius offers one of his men this quote.