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English Literature   >   Shakespeare: Coriolanus

Patricians and Plebeians

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Shakespeare: Coriolanus

In this course, Dr Martin Wiggins (The Shakespeare Institute, University of Birmingham) explores Shakespeare's Coriolanus. We begin by thinking about the political circumstances in which the action of the play takes place, focusing in particular on the tension between the plebeians and patricians, as well as the combination of internal and external threats to the fledgling Roman state. After that, we think about the intersection between war and politics in the play, before moving onto the figure of Coriolanus himself.

Patricians and Plebeians

In this module, we think about the conflict between the patricians and the plebeians, as outlined in the opening scene of the play. In particular, we think about the audience's shifting sympathies in the opening scene as we hear from the plebeians themselves, the populist Menenius, and the play's central figure, Caius Martius – later known as Coriolanus.

Cite this Lecture

APA style

Wiggins, M. (2018, August 15). Shakespeare: Coriolanus - Patricians and Plebeians [Video]. MASSOLIT.

MLA style

Wiggins, M. "Shakespeare: Coriolanus – Patricians and Plebeians." MASSOLIT, uploaded by MASSOLIT, 15 Aug 2018,


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Dr Martin Wiggins

The Shakespeare Institute