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KEY LITERARY ELEMENTS
Coriolanus is largely set in Rome and parts of the Volscian cities of Corioli and Antium. In no other Shakespearean play does the setting figure so prominently. Rome dominates throughout, and the plot revolves around it. Rome demands of its citizens their wholehearted service, regardless of class, but it also requires that this service should adapt itself to time. Coriolanus’ inability to mould himself according to the changing circumstances is one of the chief components of this tragedy. The Rome of Coriolanus is a primitive one. Marcius was born in a Rome where valor was its “chiefest virtue,” but this ideal Rome changed with the passage of time. Coriolanus, who was the ideal warrior, became the “chief enemy to the people.” His inflexibility in responding to the changing demands of time propels him to destroy this false image of Rome that molded his being into existence.