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Volumnia - Wikipedia

and Coriolanus is solidified by the former's relationship to the actress playing Volumnia, Unlike Coriolanus, the Boss denies this Volumnia a second time; explicitly He listens to recordings of women at the market complaining about food. Moreover, Shakespeare's description of Coriolanus calls into question the . This is apparent in his relationship with Volumnia. .. With the emergence of proto- contractual society and a fluid market economy, in this period. The environment that shapes Coriolanus is the instruction he receives from his mother Volumnia.1 In his relationship with his mother, Coriolanus plays the weak .

Coriolanus is stunned by the betrayal. But for Volumnia the game of ridiculing the lower classes stops when winning their support is necessary for advancement. Coriolanus is very aware of the threat that obeying or giving in to his mother poses to his best interests as he sees them. But Volumnia does not believe either that he is right or even that his estimation of his best interests matters.

She is supremely confident that seeking what is best for him does not entail respecting or supporting his autonomy.

His autonomy, his right to be wrong or his right simply to decide on his own has no independent value for her. In both cases the mother is blindly relentless against all reason, and prevails.

Lessons from Shakespeares Tiger Mothers: Parental Authority in Coriolanus and Merchant of Venice

For Chua the victory seems to validate the madness of her insistence. Volumnia blames her son and not herself for the failure.

But both mothers skirt the question of whether it was right to stop at nothing to impose their version of the good on their child. Volumnia does not rest her claim to authoritysolely on this sense of superior knowing. She goes on to buttress this argument for her authority with an argument of indebtedness.

Again we see the same sentiment articulated by Chua: Yet rather than divesting the mother of her own strength, the transfer allows her to retain control over the child. She feeds him and in turn has her desires fed by the glory that his actions produce. Volumnia sustains the rhetoric of reciprocity through out the play, relentlessly grounding her claim to authority over him in the logic of debt. Coriolanus, internalizing this view of his indebtedness to his mother, relents again agreeing to return to the people against his own desire William [ 16 ].

Chide me no more [ 10 - 13 ]. Vicariousness final attribute of the Tiger-mother that Chua andVolumnia share is that they live vicariously through their children. This aspect of Tiger-mothering is one that Chua vehemently denies. My main evidence is that so much of what I do with Sophia and Lulu is miserable, exhausting and not remotely fun for me [ 1 ].

That a Tiger-mother is willing to endure hardship to make her child perform is no proof that the performance is not primarily for the mother.

Shakespeare points to our anxiety around this vicariousnessin a speech by the patrician Menenius. The mother sacrifices her child on the altar of her own vicarious pleasure. The play depicts the extremes of vicariousness in the parent-child relationship. Democracy and Self-rule In Coriolanus Shakespeare depicts one pathological outcome of the tiger-mother model. What we see most graphically in the play is the tiger-mother producing an adult child who is incapable of selfrule.

He believes himself to be guiltily indebted to her not just for life, but for the impetus to all his achievements. Her aspirations for him trump his own desires. He cannot value his own personal preferences his own estimation of what he should have and do with the same commitment as he values her external preferences for him.

This valuation of her desires over his own is what compels Coriolanus always to continue to extend his consent to her authority over him. After Coriolanus is banished by the people for yet another failed attempt to gain their favour, he leaves the city and joins with his former archenemy the general of the Volsces, TullusAufidius [ 10 - 13 ].

The two plan an attack on Rome together. But when they arrive to carry out their plan, Coriolanus again faces his mother.

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She begins by reminding him of what he knows has always been her greatest desire — that he should be extolled in reputation in Rome. Thus he is weakened in his resolve by her argument: Further, in trying to persuade him not to go against Rome she kneels to him — with no softer cushion than the flint, I kneel before thee; and unproperly Show duty, as mistaken all this while Between the child and parent [ 10 - 13 ].

She shames him by humbling herself to him making him feel the unnatural reversal of the hierarchy between mother and child. She trusts that his discomfort at seeing her humiliated before him will be intolerable to him; that he will be compelled to end her debasement by acceding to her demands. The tactic is dependent upon his internalisation of her claim that he is bound to elevate and obey her.

She strikes a posture of self-humiliation only as another means of dominating him [ 10 - 13 ]. As William Hazlitt wrote: The arguments for and against aristocracy or democracy, on the privileges of the few and the claims of the many, on liberty and slavery, power and the abuse of it, peace and war, are here very ably handled, with the spirit of a poet and the acuteness of a philosopher. The relation between Volumnia and Coriolanus raises the question of how authority structures within the family are replicated in the political sphere.

However, looked at from another angle it is Coriolanus himself who demonstrates the inability of people habituated to authoritarian control to break free from domination and effectively exercise the kind of responsible free will necessary to a functioning democracy. Thus within the character of Coriolanus we see a mirror of the critique of democracy contained in the play. In so far as the play is critical of democracy it is the fickleness of the people, their propensity to change their minds and their vulnerability to being manipulated by others that mars democratic rule and makes it seem short sighted and ineffective.

When Coriolanus discovers that the people have reneged on their earlier decision to elect him consul he storms: Later we see a caricature of the people as children fluctuating between opposite political opinions depending on the immediate stimulus. When they hear that Coriolanus is returning from exile to go against Rome they attempt to disclaim responsibility for their actions: The line suggests a lack of comprehension of the very idea of consent and seems to denote an oxymoron.

Consent, as an expression of the will, cannot be against the will. However, though the line elicits contempt for the plebeians its seemingly empty conceptual distinction actually describes perfectly the failure of autonomy to which Coriolanus himself is subject.

He is manipulated by her demands and aspirations to forsake his own desires and substitute her wishes for his independent agency. He consents, yet it is against his will. The play shows that, like the plebeians, Coriolanus is not capable of self-government. He does not know himself well enough to be able to formulate and act on his own evaluation of his situation. Coriolanus comments on the even more complex issue of the perils of transition from aristocracy to democracy in a society where people are unaccustomed to self-rule Amy [ 21 ].

Indeed Chua often describes such values as aspects of Western culture that stand in the way of the success of the Chinese model of parenting. Chua reveals on a number of occasions her sense that the antidemocratic and authoritarian values of Chinese culture better support the practice of tiger-mothering. While Chua has equanimity about the damaging effect the tiger-mother model can have on democratic values and the development of the capacity for self-rule, Shakespeare depicts that possibility as deeply troubling.

Thus Coriolanus dies to the echo of insult; the naming of his infantalization and the rejection of his claim not just to the heroic, but to manhood itself. Shylock is a single parent whose vision of the good for his daughter is fundamentally at odds with the dominant and profoundly licentious culture that surrounds him. Like Chua, he is attempting to discipline his daughter in opposition to ubiquitous permissive influences.

Like Chua, Shylock believes that prohibiting fun with the kids next door is in the ultimate best interests of his daughter.

As a Jew, Shylock is an outsider. And as a Jew he does not desire assimilation for himself or his family. Just as Chua prohibits sleepovers, playdates, the school play, TV and computer games so Shylock attempts to shut out the carnival-like atmosphere of Venice in order to protect Jessica from its immorality and decadence. On the ill-fated night that Shylock leaves Jessica alone while he goes to dinner with the Christians he says to her: Hear you me, Jessica: Let not the sound of shallow foppery enter My sober house [ 10 - 13 ].

Not only does he not want Jessica to participate in the frivolity of the Christian neighbors, he does not even want her watching it through the window — perhaps the 16th century equivalent of TV.

Not only does he reject the prodigal lifestyle of the Christians as morally inferior to pious Jewish life, he also fears the threat that Christian culture poses to his daughter. He knows that he and his daughter live in a Jew-hating world and he believes that Jessica is at risk of being exploited and hurt by unscrupulous Christian predators.

Shylock is not aiming to make Jessica into a virtuoso. He just wants her to be a virtuous Jewish woman and his depriving her of entertainment and fun is aimed at trying to protect her from desiring the decadent life of the Christians and from incurring the serious risks to her wellbeing that he fears the Christians might pose for her. Further, unlike Coriolanus, Jessica does not feel indebted to her parent for the care he has given her.

She sees her father as merely an obstacle to achieving her own goal of assimilation and acceptance among the Christians. And she sees his money as a means of attaining that goal.

Our house is hell, and thou, a merry devil, Didst rob it of some taste of tediousness [ 10 - 13 ]. Jessica profoundly rejects her whole upbringing, her Jewishness, her father and her culture. But though I am a daughter to his blood, I am not to his manners. O Lorenzo, If thou keep promise, I shall end this strife, Become a Christian and thy loving wife [ 10 - 13 ].

She condemns herself for being ashamed of her father but forgives herself because of the profound difference she sees between herself and him [ 10 - 13 ]. But belying the naivety and vulnerability Shylock attributes to her, Jessica does not trust to her own charms to land Lorenzo. Jessica orchestrates her escape making sure Lorenzo knows that she will be well-provisioned with riches stolen from her father William [ 22 ]. As he unknowingly takes his final leave of her he says: Well, Jessica, go in; Perhaps I will return immediately: However, as he tells of his exemplary military service and triumphs in battle, the crowd seems convinced.

Therefore let him be consul. The gods give him joy and make him good friend to the people! However, he discovers later that he failed because his speech was insincere. Fish quotes John Searle saying, Aa promise is defective if the things promised is something the promisee does not want done Fish Fish himself comments that Coriolanus set himself up for failure because he voided Ahis request by making it in such a way as to indicate that he [did] not accept the conditions on its successful performance Fish Coriolanus made several mistakes that doomed his speech: His obvious weaknesses and pride made him an easy target for both his allies and his enemies to take advantage of him.

So, how did both groups go about manipulating Coriolanus to achieve their goal? Through their compelling and fluid speech, they are easily able to persuade the plebeian crowds; talent that Coriolanus has not mastered. From the very beginning, it is apparent that the two are going to be the antagonists to our Ahero. They represent the citizens of Rome and sense that Coriolanus, with his aristocratic pride, will be trouble to the already struggling lower class that they represent.

Thus, their motivation becomes the destruction and ruin of Coriolanus. Both tribunes vow loyalty to the citizens and will do anything in their power to defeat the arrogant Coriolanus from persecuting their people. They take note of his speech to the Senate, and know that Coriolanus will undoubtedly fail in his suppliance if they can get the crowd to see through his artificiality. Brutus states, AYou see how he intends to use the people II, iii, Sicinius replies, AMay they perceive his intent!

Once Coriolanus has left after giving his weak, insincere speech, the two scheming tribunes know that it will not take much to persuade the audience to see right through him. Volumnia, the third dominant character, is a mother with an iron will and domineering persona. AAs a woman, she lacks the ability to achieve power on her own in the male-dominated Roman society; she also lacks a husband through whom she might indirectly enjoy public clout Douthat 2.

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Due to her lack of a husband, she exercises her power and influence through her son. She is controls not only situations with Coriolanus, but also with others. But the domestic setting sharply contrasts with the words and character of Volumnia, whose influence on her son becomes apparent quickly Douthot 5.

This is not exactly the talk of a typical, nurturing mother. She has raised her son to be a honored, mighty warrior, and she lives his life vicariously by controlling him to do as she directs. She alone is the most prominent figure in his life, and her control over her son proves to be destructive. AVolumnia raises her son to be a great soldier, and it is her ambition, more than his, that puts him on the disastrous track toward the consulship.

Coriolanus by William Shakespeare

In Act II, Coriolanus had no desire to ask for the acceptance of the plebeians, but Volumnia persuaded him otherwise. She knows that Coriolanus needs this acceptance from the people, and goes as far to encourage him to lie and appear humble and suppliant in order to win their approval. In her argument to Coriolanus, she applies logos, showing that appearing humble to the people does not dishonor him, because it is the only way which he will be able to achieve the coveted consul position.