Some of Shakespeare’s Politics

Some of Shakespeare’s Politics

From Coriolanus

We are accounted poor citizens, the patricians good. What authority surfeits on would relieve us. If they would yield us but the superfluity while it were wholesome, we might guess they reliev’d us humanely; but they think we are too dear. The leanness that afflicts us, the object of our misery, is as an inventory to particularize their abundance; our sufferance is a gain to them. Let us revenge this with our pikes, ere we become rakes; for the gods know I speak this in hunger for bread, not in thirst for revenge.

    Citizen 1, act 1, scene 1, lines 10~

Casual, like, I was listening to this play, been a weird winter here, and I’ve listened to all 45 minutes of Act 1 more than once, but the other afternoon, just that opening set of lines, “What authority surfeits on would relieve us.” The citizens bemoaning an arrogant politician, out of touch, presumably.

The irony is that the titular character, Coriolanus, in act 2? He refuses to show his wounds, 27 in all, the times he’s been damaged in battle for Rome. The public, with a spin doctor character or two, makes Coriolanus look arrogant.

Do your patriotic duty for your country and what happens? Screwed by the politics.

The Tragedy of Coriolanius spoiler alert, it’s a tragedy, he winds up dead.

Last saw it, what, ten years ago?

The augurer tells me we shall have news tonight.

    Menenius, (II.i.1)

With a day-job as a reader of the night sky, I must concur, “We shall have news tonight.”

See the horoscopes.


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