Coriolanus Essay

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Critical interest in the character of Volumnia has been second only to scholarly regard for Coriolanus himself. Naturally, much of the commentary focuses on their relationship, while modem interpretations have tended toward psychoanalytical accounts. Katherine Eisaman Maus has envisioned Volumnia's ferocity as socially constructed; her aggressiveness and zeal for warfare are considered unnatural in a Roman matron, and therefore must find expression elsewhere, in this case in her exaggerated masculinity and dominance over her son. William Farnham has also discussed the important role Volumnia plays in the tragedy, first, by pressing her son to do what he cannot do- that is, compromise his personal integrity- and second, by superseding his self-centered honor with the honor she possesses as his mother.

Christina Luckyj's assessment of Volumnia is indicative of a minority opinion that favors a broader conception of her role in the play. Arguing against the standard view, Luckyj...

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This section contains 5,644 words
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Buy the Coriolanus Study Guide
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Coriolanus from Shakespeare for Students. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.