or what has the right to eat. They do so in both literal and metaphorical terms. https://www.forbes.com/ sites/ronaldholden/2017/ 07/02/a-project-for-jeff- bezos-use-whole-foods- to-help-end-world- hunger/#66d43e6b62c5
is a distinctive pattern in visual, verbal, or musical design. Defined specifically in terms of the verbal arts, it is an image, action, idea, or sound that repeats throughout a literary work. https://www.template.net/design- templates/patterns/damask-pattern/
believe their “leanness. . .is as an inventory to particularize” the patricians’ “abundance.” Calls to riot are urged “in hunger for bread, not in thirst for revenge.” (Act I, Scene I) https://www.historyextra.com /period/roman/the-dangerous- streets-of-ancient-rome/
replete with food riots. The Bard’s inspiration—Plutarch’s life of Coriolanus—also addressed the impact of food insecurity on the masses. https://manyheadedmonster.wordpress .com/2015/05/04/the-beggar-and-the- rich-man-picturing-the-holy-poor-in- tudor-and-early-stuart-england/ https://theplaystheblog.wordpress.com/2013/ 11/10/indeed-this-is-probably-the-most- difficult-play-in-the-canon-and-it-prompts-one- to-think-again-about-the-problems-it-must- always-have-set-audiences-and readers/
thus quite apt. Attempting to soothe the angry crowd, he contends Senate is the “good belly” of the people: “you shall find/No public benefit which you receive/But it proceeds or comes from them to you/And no way from yourselves.” (Act I, Scene I) https://www.alamy.com/leonard o-da-vincirepresentation-of-the- stomach-and-intestines1506- 1508-image347628073.html
crowd, but his status as a successful defender of the realm allows the play to pose an essential question: Who has the right to consume—the men who protect Rome or those who populate it? https://martiuscoriolanus.wordp ress.com/tag/ancient-rome/
They ne’er did service for ’t. Being pressed to th’ war, Even when the navel of the state was touched, They would not thread the gates. This kind of service Did not deserve corn gratis. Being i’ th’ war, Their mutinies and revolts, wherein they showed Most valor, spoke not for them (Act III, Scene I) They said they were an-hungry, sighed forth proverbs That hunger broke stone walls, that dogs must eat, That meat was made for mouths, that the gods sent not Corn for the rich men only. (Act I, Scene I) The opposing sides, as relayed by Coriolanus himself
proud, rude, and dismissive. He is also an accomplished warrior who has saved Rome on more than one occassion. Quite significantly, the citizens who rise up against him do not fault his deeds—they bridle at his words. During times of war, he inspires devotion, as his lionization in the Volscian army shows. Peace is his problem, but, even then, there are those who insist that his virtues must be recognized. As the Second Citizen relates to the First at the start of the play: “What he cannot help in his nature you account a vice in him. You must in no way say he is covetous.” (Act I, Scene I)
world. He would not flatter Neptune for his trident Or Jove for’s power to thunder. His heart’s his mouth; What his breast forges, that his tongue must vent Consider this: he has been bred i’ th’ wars Since he could draw a sword, and is ill schooled In bolted language; meal and bran together (all from Act III, Scene I) Menenius accurately defines Coriolanus
veins unfilled, our blood is cold, and then We pout upon the morning, are unapt To give or to forgive; but when we have stuffed These pipes and these conveyances of our blood With wine and feeding, we have suppler souls Than in our priestlike fasts. Therefore I’ll watch him Till he be dieted to my request, And then I’ll set upon him. (Act V, Scene I) The nobleman who does not hoard food, or know how to “sauce” phrases, does not find nourishment where others do. He would rather starve than be debased, and he does not participate in the feasts around him. Menenius, seeking to forestall Coriolanus’ siege of Rome, specifically describes the warrior’s obstinance in terms of misdirected hunger:
a right to ask of Rome what he asks his mother: Why did you wish me milder? Would you have me False to my nature? Rather say I play The man I am. (Act III, Scene IV) This “hunger,” though, is what makes Coriolanus such an effective fighter (the Volscian servants at Antium state that Coriolanus’ previous onslaught against Aufidius was so furious that Coriolanus, had he been “cannibally given,. . .might have boiled and eaten him too.” [Act IV, Scene V]) The problem? Coriolanus is, by nature, hungry. He is also inflexible and proud—so, so proud.
Volumnia might show the way. Incensed at her son’s banishment, she refuses an invitation to dine thusly: Anger’s my meat. I sup upon myself And so shall starve with feeding. Come, let’s go (Act IV, Scene II) But her heart is not her mouth—what her breast forges her tongue does not always vent. As she tells her son: I have a heart as little apt as yours, But yet a brain that leads my use of anger To better vantage. (Act III, Scene II)
of rebellion, insolence, sedition, Which we ourselves have plowed for, sowed, and scattered By mingling them with us, the honored number, Who lack not virtue, no, nor power, but that Which they have given to beggars. The play never definitively answers the question of who has the right to consume. It is Coriolanus, not the citizens, who is “eaten up” in the war, but that is only because he sacrifices himself. Most of Acts IV and V actually make manifest the danger he outlined in Act III, Scene I:
digest. (See what I did there?) Consider the recurrent reference to eating (and the need to eat) throughout the play and determine the significance of this motif. What does the play ultimately say about eating and the need to eat? (This “ultimate say” is a theme—because, remember, theme is not just idea or topic; it is a literary work’s specific take on an idea or topic.) So what, according to the evidence laid out before you, do you see as the theme of eating in the play?