Coriolanus

Oftentimes it’s best to say as little as possible. Coriolanus is a man who happens to be brilliant in battle but whose scornful and excessive words and emotion towards his own people suppress his overall success. He feels great contempt for the commonalty and shows no sympathy to their unrest from war and famine. He says things that engender much hostility towards himself and he doesn’t seem to care. One speech he says to the citizens: “He that will give good words to thee will flatter beneath abhorring. What would you have, you curs, that like nor peace nor war? The one affrights you, the other makes you proud. He that trusts to you, where he should find you lions, finds you hares; where foxes, geese: you are no surer, no, than is the coal of fire upon the ice, or hailstone in the sun.” Harsh words from someone who is fighting to protect the country these citizens belong to. He would of been much better off keeping these thoughts to himself, as he is eventually banished by his own people, driven into exile and thenceforth assassinated. Author Robert Greene says, “Had Coriolanus said less, the people would never have had cause to be offended by him, would never have known his true feelings. He would have maintained his powerful aura, would certainly have been elected consul, and would have been able to pursue his antidemocratic goals.” Saying less is extremely valuable and a great habit to acquire.

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