Explanatory Notes for Act 1, Scene 2
From Coriolanus. Ed. K. Deighton. London: Macmillan.
2. That they ... counsels, that those in Rome have found their way into our plans; areenter'd expresses the present state, haveenter'd would express the activity necessary to cause that state; for in, = into, see Abb. § 159.
3. Is it not yours? do you not believe so too?
4-6. What ever ... circumvention? What plans have we ever formed and been able to carry out without Rome outwitting us? If have is the genuine reading, What is equivalent to what
things: four days gone, four days past, ago; cp. M. M. v. 1. 229, "But Tuesday night last gone."
7. Since I heard thence, since I had news from Rome,
9. press'd a power, enrolled a force. Wedgwood (Dict.) has
shown that press'd, in the sense of 'compelled to serve,' has nothing to do with 'press' in the sense of 'crush,' 'squeeze,' but
is a corruption of prest, ready, prest-money being ready money
advanced when a man was hired for service, the shilling now
given to recruits. "At a later period," he says, "the practice
of taking men for the public service by compulsion made the
word to be understood as if it signified to force men into the
service, and the original reference to earnest money was quite
lost sight of"; power, frequent in Shakespeare, both in the
singular and the plural, for an army, troops.
10. Whether ... west, whether the destination of the troops is to the east or to the west; i.e. whether they are to be sent
against us or against some other enemy.
13. of Rome, by the people of Rome; for of, = by, see Abb. § 170.
15. this preparation, this force that has been mustered; the
abstract for the concrete. Cp. Cymbl. iv. 3. 29, "Your preparation can affront no less Than what, you hear of"; Oth. i. 3. 1-4,
"The Turkish preparation makes for Rhodes."
16. Whither 'tis hent, to their destination, whatever it may be.
19. To answer us, to meet us in the field; cp. K. J. v. 7. 60,
"The Dauphin is preparing hitherward. Where heaven He knows how we shall answer him."
20. great pretences, important designs; cp. Lear, i. 4. 75,
"which I have rather blamed as mine own jealous curiosity than a very pretence and purpose of unkindness"; and for the verb,
Macb. ii. 4. 24.
21. needs, of necessity; the old genitive used adverbially; cp.
whiles, twice (i.e. twies), etc.: in the hatching, while they were
being brought to the birth.
22. appear'd, were revealed: discovery, disclosure.
23. shorten'd in our aim, curbed in our projects.
24. To take in, to capture; as frequently in Shakespeare: ere
almost, for the transposition, see Abb. § 29.
25. afoot, literally, on foot, i.e. in motion.
26. your commission, whereby you are invested with the command of the troops: hie, hasten,
27. Let us alone, leave us to guard, etc.
28. 9. If they ... army, if they should besiege us, bring up your army to cause them to raise the siege; cp. below, i. 3. 94, "Your
lord and Titus Lartius are set down before their city Corioli"; 's, for us, is a frequent contraction: for the remove, cp. R. J. v. 3. 237, "to remove that siege of grief from her."
30. They've not ... us, that this preparation of theirs is not intended against us.
32. parcels, small portions; Lat. diminutive, particula, a
small part: are forth, have already set forth.
33. And only hitherward; and are directed against this city
and none other.
35. ever strike, continue to strike.
36. can do no more, has no strength for any other action, is
37. your honours, your honourable selves; a title of respect.
How to cite the explanatory notes:
Shakespeare, William. Coriolanus. Ed. K. Deighton. London: Macmillan, 1900. Shakespeare Online. 20 Feb. 2010. (date when you accessed the information) < http://www.shakespeare-online.com/plays/corio_1_2.html >.