Stanley Cavell on Coriolanus and political readings

Fortunately I got there on my own first, but this is why I was right to abandon my initial idea of a narrowly political reading of Coriolanus.

In the critical discussions I have read so far, the psychoanalytic perspective has produced more interesting readings than the political. A political reading is apt to become fairly predictable once you know whose side the reader is taking, that of the patricians or that of the plebeians; and whose side the reader takes may come down to how he or she sees Menenius’s fable of the organic state, the Fable of the Belly, and upon whom he or she places the blame for Coriolanus’s banishment.

Stanley Cavell, “Who Does the Wolf Love? Reading Coriolanus”, Representations, No 3, 1983, p. 2 (also in his Disowning Knowledge, p. 145).

This does not mean, however, that there is nothing interesting to say about the politics of the play. Cavell, among others, proves there is much to say, as long as it doesn’t simply go along class lines.

This entry was posted in Politics, Stanley Cavell, William Shakespeare. Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to Stanley Cavell on Coriolanus and political readings

  1. Pingback: Coriolanus – Ralph Fiennes and the text | Progressive Geographies

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