Coriolanus Essay

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With only a relatively small presence in the play, Virginia has nonetheless attracted the attention of a few scholars who have seen her as thematically integral to Coriolanus, particularly in her role as foil to Volumnia. Catherine La Courreye Blecki has argued that Virgilia, while contrasting significantly with Volumnia, does not display meekness or passivity, as some have suggested. Rather, while she is often silent, she does contradict Volumnia when necessary. Additionally, Blecki sees Virgilia as playing a vital role in the debate over the heroic, warrior ideal with her mother-in-law.

Gail Kern Paster has seen Virgilia's silence as resistance to the aristocratic code of honor represented by the Coriolanus and Volumnia. This line of thought owes particular debt to John Middleton Murry, one of the first critics to comment significantly on Virgilia's character. In Murry's view, Virgilia's defining characteristic is her "gracious silence." She thus represents a...

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This section contains 3,701 words
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Coriolanus from Shakespeare for Students. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.