• The same. The Capitol.
    Enter two Officers, to lay cushions

    FIRST OFFICER

    Come, come, they are almost here. How many stand
    for consulships?

    SECOND OFFICER

    Three, they say: but ’tis thought of every one
    Coriolanus will carry it.

    FIRST OFFICER

    5That’s a brave fellow; but he’s vengeance proud, and
    loves not the common people.

    SECOND OFFICER

    Faith, there had been many great men that have
    flattered the people, who ne’er loved them; and there
    be many that they have loved, they know not
    10wherefore: so that, if they love they know not why,
    they hate upon no better a ground: therefore, for
    Coriolanus neither to care whether they love or hate
    him manifests the true knowledge he has in their
    disposition; and out of his noble carelessness lets
    15them plainly see’t.

    FIRST OFFICER

    If he did not care whether he had their love or no,
    he waved indifferently ’twixt doing them neither
    good nor harm: but he seeks their hate with greater
    devotion than can render it him; and leaves
    20nothing undone that may fully discover him their
    opposite. Now, to seem to affect the malice and
    displeasure of the people is as bad as that which he
    dislikes, to flatter them for their love.
  • The capitol.
    Two Officers enter to set up seats.

    FIRST OFFICER

    Hurry up. They’re almost here. How many are being considered for the consul?

    SECOND OFFICER

    Three, they say. But everyone thinks Coriolanus will get it.

    FIRST OFFICER

    He’s a brave man, but he’s too proud, and he doesn’t care about the common people.

    SECOND OFFICER

    There have been many great men who have flattered the people but whom the people never liked, and there have been many that the people liked for unknown reasons. Since they can like someone without knowing why, at least when they dislike someone, it’s for an equally vague reason. So for Coriolanus not to care whether they like him or not shows that he actually knows them quite well, and out of his own indifference to public opinion, he lets them know that he doesn’t care.

    FIRST OFFICER

    If he didn’t care whether or not he had their support, he would be indifferent to either doing them good or harm. But he provokes their hatred with more intensity than they can they can hate him with in return. He has done everything possible for them to see him as their enemy. However, to pretend to desire the ill will of the people is as bad as flattering them for their approval—something he would never do.