Theatre: Coriolanus

Famine in Rome is kindling unrest between the common people and the patricians. The people particularly resent the arrogant Caius Martius, son of Volumnia, who makes no secret of the fact that he despises them. The citizens rise up against the patricians, whom they suspect of hoarding corn for themselves. They are rewarded with the creation of two people's representatives, or tribunes, who are given new powers to sit in the Senate. War with the neighbouring Volscians halts the rioting, however, and, in the battle for the town of Corioli, Caius Martius leads the Roman army with such spectacular bravery that he is honoured with the title 'Coriolanus'. Back in Rome, the patricians urge Coriolanus to seek the consulship. Reluctantly, he agrees to submit himself to the necessary public display of humility in order to win the assent of the citizens, but once again his inability to mask his contempt turns them against him. Not only do they refuse their assent but, incited by their tribunes, they banish Coriolanus from Rome. In revenge, he joins the Volscians and his former enemy Tullus Aufidius. Together they march on Rome. Coriolanus refuses all attempts at conciliation by his former comrades and only through the intercession of his mother, wife and son is he finally persuaded to spare the city. He establishes a peace, but is killed by the resentful Volscians.

Caius Marcius Coriolanus.................Laurence Olivier
Meneius......................................Harry Andrews
Titus Lartius................................Donald Eccles
Roman Citizen.............................Diana Rigg

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