Esoteric Shakespeare (Part 13)

In the Spear Shaker play, Coriolanus, the plebians (of or relating to the common people of ancient Rome) are in an uproar. Like some people in Kiev, they are a group of mutineers carrying staves, clubs and other weapons. Caius Marcius (Viktor Yanukovych) is “chief enemy to the people.” (In recognition of his great courage, Caius Marcius is later given the nickname of Coriolanus.)

Ukraine has long been a global breadbasket due to its extensive, fertile farmlands. [1] In Coriolanus, the angry plebians demand corn at their own price. Caius Marcius (Viktor Yanukovych) is aligned with the patricians (a member of the highest social class; a member of one of the original citizen families of ancient Rome).

Says the First Citizen of the angry plebian mutineers:

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 relieved 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.

(Even though Ukraine is a global breadbasket, the angry mutineers believe there is even more bread to be had in the European Union.)

But then along comes Menenius Agrippa, friend to Caius Marcius (Viktor Yanukovych). Menenius Agrippa tells the angry plebians, “I tell you, friends, most charitable care have the patricians of you.” Menenius then complains that the mutineers are slandering the helms of the state, “who care for you like fathers, when you curse them as enemies.”

But the First Citizen isn’t buying this sweet talk. They (the patricians) never cared for us! They let us famish (by not being in the European Union)!

Then along comes Caius Marcius (Viktor Yanukovych) himself! And he insults the mutineers: “What’s the matter, you dissentious rogues, that, rubbing the poor itch of your opinion, make yourself scabs?”

(This is like when Ukrainian president Viktor Yanukovych signed new laws, in January 2014, that banned virtually all forms of anti-government protests. [2])

But then comes news that the Volsces are up in arms. (Volsci, ancient Italic people prominent in the history of Roman expansion during the 5th century bc.) Eventually there begin to be “raids” by the Volsces.

(This is like the Russian military, coming into Crimea, a disputed territory between Ukraine and Russia.)

Caius Marcius hears about these threats from the Volsces. He offers to the angry mutineers that they can follow his army: “The Volsces have much corn; take these rats thither to gnaw their garners. – Worshipful mutineers, your valour puts well forth: pray, follow.”

Will the angry mutineers of Kiev follow Andriy Parubiy of the new Svoboda leadership in Ukraine as he marches into Crimea to battle the Russians? In Coriolanus, the angry mutineers decline the offer of Caius Marcius.

Of course these are only vague parallels. On the other hand, Caius Marcius (Viktor Yanukovych) does go into exile: “After being exiled from Rome, Coriolanus seeks out Aufidius in the Volscian capital of Antium, and offers to let Aufidius kill him in order to spite the country that banished him. Moved by his plight and honored to fight alongside the great general, Aufidius and his superiors embrace Coriolanus, and allow him to lead a new assault on Rome.” [3]

——- Sources ——-
[1] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ukraine
[2] “Ukrainian president approves strict anti-protest laws”, Reuters in Kiev, January 17, 2014
[3] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Coriolanus

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About ersjdamoo

Editor of Conspiracy Nation, later renamed Melchizedek Communique. Close associate of the late Sherman H. Skolnick. Jack of all trades, master of none. Sagittarius, with Sagittarius rising. I'm not a bum, I'm a philosopher.
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2 Responses to Esoteric Shakespeare (Part 13)

  1. Pingback: Esoteric Shakespeare (Part 14) | Ersjdamoo's Blog

  2. Pingback: Apprehensions of War | Ersjdamoo's Blog

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