Day #22: An underrated play - Coriolanus
I could very easily list any of the Henry VI
s here because they never get enough love, but I talked at length about their utter brilliance
on Day 10. Then I was tempted by Henry IV, Part II
, but I actually know quite a few people who love that play, so I decided to go with something completely different.
I only read this play recently, on the repeated suggestion of gileonnen
, and it is absolutely fascinating. I knew absolutely nothing about the actual Coriolanus -- a far cry from reading Julius Caesar
and Antony and Cleopatra
with all their accompanying cultural baggage. And Coriolanus himself is just a very different kind of tragic hero. He's exactly the right man for the military aspects of his job, but he can't handle the politics. Or, perhaps more accurately, he refuses
to be a political animal. I suppose if Hamlet is driven by his brain and Othello by his heart, Coriolanus follows...his gut? His first instinct?gileonnen
makes the point that what makes Coriolanus
interesting is its rejection of heroic tropes -- it's not about love or revenge or patriotism, but about how Coriolanus' actions are constantly misread as being something greater than they are. Actually, just read her entire post
. She's got far more cogent thoughts on it than I do.
I'm not sure why this play isn't more popular. Possibly it is because it gets overshadowed by the better-known Roman plays, or maybe because the different levels of conflict are a bit hard to parse on first glance (Romans v. Volscians, plebes v. patricians, Coriolanus v. everybody, etc). Or possibly it's just not performed enough, though I expect that will change with the upcoming film version.
Also, Volumnia is BRILLIANT. She's got incredible power over her son and is completely unashamed of it, and powerful women in Shakespeare always make me happy.Day #1: Your favourite play - Othello and Richard IIIDay #2: Your favourite character - Lady Elizabeth Grey in 3 Henry VI and Richard IIIDay #3: Your favourite hero - OthelloDay #4: Your favourite heroine - Juliet from Romeo and Juliet and Beatrice from Much Ado About NothingDay #5: Your favorite villain - Richard of GloucesterDay #6: Your favourite
villainess female villain - Joan la PucelleDay #7: Your favourite clown - Feste from Twelfth NightDay #8: Your favourite comedy - Much Ado About NothingDay #9: Your favourite tragedy - King LearDay #10: Your favourite history - The Henry VI trilogyDay #11: Your least favourite play - The Taming of the ShrewDay #12: Your favourite scene - selections from Richard III, Othello, Much Ado, and 3 Henry VIDay #13: Your favourite romantic scene - As You Like It, Act IV, Scene IDay #14: Your favourite fight scene - 1 Henry IV and 3 Henry VIDay #15: The first play you read - Romeo and JulietDay #16: Your first play you saw - MacbethDay #17: Your favourite speech - Romeo and Juliet and 3 Henry VIDay #18: Your favourite dialogue - Much Ado About Nothing, Romeo and Juliet, and HamletDay #19: Your favourite movie version of a play - Richard III (1995)Day #20: Your favourite movie adaptation of a play - Ten Things I Hate About YouDay #21: An overrated play - The TempestDay #22: An underrated play - Coriolanus
Day #23: A role you've never played but would love to play
Day #24: An actor or actress you would love to see in a particular role
Day #25: Sooner or later, everyone has to choose: Hal or Falstaff?
Day #26: Your favourite couple
Day #27: Your favourite couplet
Day #28: Your favourite joke
Day #29: Your favourite sonnet
Day #30: Your favourite single line