William Shakespeare, Coriolanus

Kenneth Parker (University of East London); Revised By: Virginia Mason Vaughan (Clark University)
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As with Julius Caesar, Antony and Cleopatra, and Timon of Athens, the chief source for the play is Plutarch's Parallel Lives, first written in Greek around 2 BCE. Shakespeare came to Plutarch via Sir Thomas North's Lives of the Noble Grecians and Romanes (1579; additions 1595; 1603), translated from the French of Jacques Amyot in 1560. It is also likely that Shakespeare drew on Philemon Holland's translation of Livy's Roman History (1601) in which the story is told as part of the account of the expulsion of the Tarquins from Rome in the early fifth century BCE. Plutarch tells how Caius Marcius is awarded the name “Coriolanus” in thanks for his capture of Corioli, a town on the frontier between Roman and Volscian lands. The war comes opportunely to Rome since the plebeians are in…

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Citation: Parker, Kenneth, Virginia Mason Vaughan. "Coriolanus". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 28 October 2000; last revised 20 January 2020. [https://www.litencyc.com/php/sworks.php?rec=true&UID=5837, accessed 09 December 2023.]

5837 Coriolanus 3 Historical context notes are intended to give basic and preliminary information on a topic. In some cases they will be expanded into longer entries as the Literary Encyclopedia evolves.

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