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ON FAITH & MEDIA View Comments

Coriolanus

By
Sr. Rose Pacatte, F.S.P.
Source: AmericanCatholic.org

I went to see “Coriolanus” without knowing the story, never having read what some deem one of Shakespeare’s minor tragedies.  Historians agree, however, that Caius Martius, with Coriolanus added later when he vanquished the Volscian city of Corioli, did exist as a Roman aristocrat and soldier.
 
Give Mr. Shakespeare his due for writing such a relevant play from such an obscure moment in ancient history.
 
This modern adaptation of the play is by John Logan who also wrote screenplays for “Hugo” and “Aviator” and many others.  Actor Ralph Fiennes, in his directorial debut, also plays the proud Coriolanus just returned from victory. His mother Volumnia (Vanessa Redgrave) urges him to stand for consul, but he is completely out of touch with the commoners. The Senate and his advisers are with him then against him. The crowds are encouraged to acclaim him but then two tribunes scheme against him, and Coriolanus’ pride erupts in a diatribe against the common people. He is denounced and sends himself into exile. He joins his adversary (Gerald Butler) but when they return to take Rome, Coriolanus caves to entireties of his mother and wife and refuses to attack. His betrayal, his inability to decide, and the influence of his mother, make Coriolanus similar in some ways to “Hamlet”.
 
This film, with some adjustments to speech, could be set it modern times.  The story is similar to the 2011 film the “Ides of March” where politics is the order of the day as well. In both films the main character, a politician, has a tragic flaw that does him in. For Coriolanus it is wealth, power and pride whereas in “Ides” it is pride, sex, and power that trip up the presidential candidate.
 
For all its war and violence “Coriolanus” is a story driven by strong women, especially Volumnia.  Volumnia and his wife Virgilia (Jessica Chastain). The performances are powerful. Ralph Fiennes’s rage against the plebeians, the little people, the populace consisting of mostly commoners, is almost over-the-top; if his character hadn’t left town they would have killed him.
 
In a presidential year, “Coriolanus” is worth watching.  Pride, even if it be a man’s natural personality, is a deadly sin. It is a lesson Coriolanus never learned and it cost him his life.


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Paul of the Cross: 
		<p>Born in northern Italy in 1694, Paul Daneo lived at a time when many regarded Jesus as a great moral teacher but no more. After a brief time as a soldier, he turned to solitary prayer, developing a devotion to Christ’s passion. Paul saw in the Lord’s passion a demonstration of God’s love for all people. In turn that devotion nurtured his compassion and supported a preaching ministry that touched the hearts of many listeners. He was known as one of the most popular preachers of his day, both for his words and for his generous acts of mercy. </p>
		<p>In 1720 Paul founded the Congregation of the Passion, whose members combined devotion to Christ’s passion with preaching to the poor and rigorous penances. Known as the Passionists, they add a fourth vow to the traditional three of poverty, chastity, and obedience, to spread the memory of Christ’s passion among the faithful. Paul was elected superior general of the Congregation in 1747, spending the remainder of his life in Rome. </p>
		<p>Paul of the Cross died in 1775, and was canonized in 1867. Over 2000 of his letters and several of his short writings have survived. </p>
American Catholic Blog Always bear in mind as a safe general rule that while God tries us by His crosses and sufferings, He always leaves us a glimmer of light by which we continue to have great trust in him and to recognize His immense goodness.

 
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