Coriolanus

Tullus Aufidius Character Analysis

Read our modern English translation.
Tullus Aufidius is a Volscian general and the mortal enemy of Caius Martius Coriolanus. The two men have an agreement to fight in hand-to-hand combat whenever they meet on the battlefield. Between the two there is both a mutual hatred and a mutual respect, such that when Coriolanus has been banished from Rome, Aufidius welcomes him to join the Volscian army. Though he cannot fully match Coriolanus in battle, Aufidius surpasses his rival in political skill and oratory abilities. After Coriolanus decides to abandon the siege on Rome, Aufidius is easily able to convince the other Volscian conspirators to turn on and murder Coriolanus.

Tullus Aufidius Quotes in Coriolanus

The Coriolanus quotes below are all either spoken by Tullus Aufidius or refer to Tullus Aufidius. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Politics, Class, and Rome Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Simon & Schuster edition of Coriolanus published in 2009.
Act 4, Scene 5 Quotes

My name is Caius Martius, who hath done
To thee particularly and to all the Volsces
Great hurt and mischief; thereto witness may
My surname Coriolanus. The painful service,
The extreme dangers, and the drops of blood
Shed for my thankless country are requited
But with that surname, a good memory
And witness of the malice and displeasure
Which thou shouldst bear me. Only that name
remains.

Related Symbols: Wounds and Blood
Page Number: 4.5.73-82
Explanation and Analysis:
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O Martius, Martius,
Each word thou hast spoke hath weeded from my heart
A root of ancient envy.

Let me twine
Mine arms about that body, whereagainst
My grainèd ash an hundred times hath broke
And scarred the moon with splinters.

Know thou first,
I loved the maid I married; never man
Sighed truer breath. But that I see thee here,
Thou noble thing, more dances my rapt heart
Than when I first my wedded mistress saw
Bestride my threshold.

Related Characters: Tullus Aufidius (speaker), Caius Martius / Coriolanus
Related Symbols: Body Parts
Page Number: 4.5.111-131
Explanation and Analysis:
Quotes explanation short mobile
Act 5, Scene 6 Quotes

AUFIDIUS: Tell the traitor in the highest degree
He hath abused your powers.
CORIOLANUS: “Traitor”? How now?
AUFIDIUS: Ay, traitor, Martius.
CORIOLANUS: Martius?
AUFIDIUS: Ay, Martius, Caius Martius. Dost thou think
I’ll grace thee with that robbery, thy stol’n name
Coriolanus, in Corioles?
You lords and heads o’ th’ state, perfidiously
He has betrayed your business and given up
For certain drops of salt your city Rome—
I say your city—to his wife and mother,
Breaking his oath and resolution like
A twist of rotten silk, never admitting
Counsel o’ th’ war, but at his nurse’s tears
He whined and roared away your victory,
That pages blushed at him and men of heart
Looked wond’ring each at other.
CORIOLANUS: Hear’st thou, Mars?
AUFIDIUS: Name not the god, thou boy of tears.

Page Number: 5.6.101-120
Explanation and Analysis:
Quotes explanation short mobile

Cut me to pieces, Volsces. Men and lads,
Stain all your edges on me. “Boy”? False hound!
If you have writ your annals true, ’tis there
That like an eagle in a dovecote, I
Fluttered your Volscians in Corioles,
Alone I did it. “Boy”!

Related Symbols: Body Parts, Wounds and Blood
Page Number: 5.6.133-138
Explanation and Analysis:
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Tullus Aufidius Character Timeline in Coriolanus

The timeline below shows where the character Tullus Aufidius appears in Coriolanus. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Act 1, Scene 1
Politics, Class, and Rome Theme Icon
War, Violence, and Masculinity Theme Icon
Heroism vs. Humanity Theme Icon
Caius Martius reports that the Volscians have a leader, Tullus Aufidius, whom Martius envies for his nobility. If Martius were anyone but himself, he says, he... (full context)
Act 1, Scene 2
Politics, Class, and Rome Theme Icon
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Tullus Aufidius consults with Volscian Senators in the Senate House in Corioles. A senator asks Aufidius to... (full context)
Politics, Class, and Rome Theme Icon
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...Senator says that he never had any doubt Rome would be ready to respond, and Aufidius laments that the early discovery of their plan – taking as many towns as possible... (full context)
Act 1, Scene 3
War, Violence, and Masculinity Theme Icon
Family and Femininity Theme Icon
Heroism vs. Humanity Theme Icon
...her to stay. She thinks she hears her son’s war drum, and visualizes him defeating Aufidius and uplifting Roman soldiers. She describes his bloody brow and compares him to a laborer... (full context)
Act 1, Scene 4
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...senators enter on the walls of the city, and Martius cries out, asking if Tullus Aufidius is inside the city. One senator says no, and says that there are no men... (full context)
Act 1, Scene 5
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...Martius recognizes as Cominius’s. Martius believes that his enemy, “the man of [his] soul’s hate, Aufidius” is the one attacking the Romans on the other side of the city. He instructs... (full context)
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...not dangerous but is in fact curative to him. He will appear to and fight Aufidius in his bloodied state. The two men wish each other luck and exit to carry... (full context)
Act 1, Scene 6
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Cominius believes the nearing army is made up of soldiers from Antium, including Aufidius. Martius asks his general to ensure that he is the one to face Aufidius, evoking... (full context)
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...is worth four Volscians. Though all of them are brave and able to fight against Aufidius himself, Martius selects only a few of them, leaving the rest to some other battle.... (full context)
Act 1, Scene 8
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Caius Martius and Aufidius enter at opposite sides of the battlefield near the Roman camp. Martius says that he... (full context)
Act 1, Scene 9
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...the battle, this man was taken prisoner and cried out to Coriolanus, but Coriolanus saw Aufidius, and his wrath against his enemy overcame his pity for the poor man. Coriolanus asks... (full context)
Act 1, Scene 10
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A bloodied Tullus Aufidius enters the Volscian camp with some Volscian soldiers. Aufidius reports that the town has been... (full context)
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Aufidius swears by the elements that if he and Martius meet again “beard to beard,” one... (full context)
Act 2, Scene 1
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Menenius wonders if Martius has fought with Aufidius, and Volumnia tells him that Lartius reported they fought indeed, but Aufidius escaped. Menenius remarks... (full context)
Act 3, Scene 1
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...and other patricians enter a street in Rome. Coriolanus asks Lartius if it’s true that Aufidius has gathered a new army, and Lartius confirms that it is. Coriolanus believes they are... (full context)
Act 4, Scene 3
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Adrian thanks Niancor for the information (“intelligence”) that Coriolanus has been banished. Niancor believes Aufidius will probably fare well in the coming war now that Coriolanus will not fight for... (full context)
Act 4, Scene 4
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Outside Aufidius’s house in Antium, Coriolanus is disguised in “mean apparel” with his face covered. He calls... (full context)
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...his birthplace and loves his former enemy town. He decides to enter, thinking that if Aufidius kills him it will be justice, and if Aufidius spares him he will fight alongside... (full context)
Act 4, Scene 5
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Music plays in the house of Aufidius. A servant enters, looking for wine, and then exits. Another servant enters, looking for a... (full context)
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...doesn’t serve the servant’s master. He beats the servant away, and another reenters along with Aufidius, who asks where the strange guest is. Aufidius asks why the stranger has come, what... (full context)
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Aufidius again asks Coriolanus’s name, noting that he has a grim appearance, a face fit for... (full context)
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These extreme circumstances have brought Coriolanus to Aufidius’s home, he says. He hasn’t come to try and save his own life, since if... (full context)
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Aufidius cries out “O Martius, Martius,” and says that each word that his enemy speaks has... (full context)
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Aufidius tells Coriolanus that he has amassed an army, and he originally intended to fight Coriolanus... (full context)
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The third servant enters, bearing news. The servants all discuss Coriolanus’s history with Aufidius, and how Aufidius has been outmatched. Outside of Corioles, Coriolanus bested Aufidius and could even... (full context)
Act 4, Scene 6
Politics, Class, and Rome Theme Icon
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...armies and entered Roman territory with the intent of starting another war. Menenius guesses that Aufidius has heard of Coriolanus’s banishment and been emboldened to attack by it. The tribunes think... (full context)
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...has been confirmed, with the addition of even more terrifying information: Coriolanus has joined with Aufidius, and the exiled Roman now leads an army against Rome seeking revenge. Sicinius and Brutus... (full context)
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...shouted Coriolanus out of the city. Cominius fears they’ll soon shout him back in, since Aufidius is acting as an officer to Coriolanus. Rome needs to mount a desperate defense. A... (full context)
Act 4, Scene 7
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At a camp near Rome, Aufidius talks with his Volscian Lieutenant, asking whether the soldiers are still liking Coriolanus. The lieutenant... (full context)
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The Volscian Lieutenant thinks it would have been in Aufidius’s better interest not to join with Coriolanus and to attack Rome on his own, or... (full context)
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The Volscian Lieutenant asks Aufidius if he thinks Coriolanus will capture Rome, and Aufidius responds that everyone yields to Coriolanus.... (full context)
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Aufidius continues: Coriolanus was a noble servant, but could not hold on to his honors either... (full context)
Act 5, Scene 2
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...and executions. The watchmen begin threatening Menenius if he doesn’t leave, and then Coriolanus and Aufidius enter, asking what’s the matter. Menenius tells the watchmen that now they’ll see that he... (full context)
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...they were so close. He will not speak another word, he says, before briefly introducing Aufidius and then exiting. (full context)
Act 5, Scene 3
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Outside of Coriolanus’s tent in the Volscian camp, Coriolanus talks with Aufidius, saying that tomorrow they’ll set their army on the walls of Rome. He asks Aufidius... (full context)
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...mortal” to her son. He accepts his fate if it will come, and he tells Aufidius that he wants to make peace. He asks his former rival if he would have... (full context)
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...the women deserve a temple built for them based on the peace they have created. Aufidius, meanwhile, says in an aside that he’s glad Coriolanus has compromised his honor by being... (full context)
Act 5, Scene 6
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In a public place in Corioles, Aufidius enters with some attendants. He instructs them to tell the lords of the city that... (full context)
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Aufidius believes he has a good cause to attack Coriolanus. He advocated for Coriolanus, who in... (full context)
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Aufidius says that he then let Coriolanus take on responsibility and gave him whatever he wanted,... (full context)
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...trumpets sound, signaling that Coriolanus has entered the town. A Volscian conspirator notes that when Aufidius entered his home town he was met with silence, but Coriolanus receives earsplitting noise. Another... (full context)
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...that is honorable to both sides, and he hands the peace offering to the lords. Aufidius, though, tells the lords not to read it, saying they should tell the “traitor in... (full context)
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Coriolanus is shocked, saying “Traitor? How now?” and Aufidius says, “Ay, traitor, Martius.” Again, Coriolanus responds in brief confusion, just repeating “Martius?” Aufidius then... (full context)
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...a dovecote” he “fluttered” through all the Volscians in Corioles, capturing the city all alone. Aufidius asks if the lords will be convinced by Coriolanus’s “unholy” bragging about the shameful battle... (full context)
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...offence, but Coriolanus draws his sword, saying he wishes that he had six versions of Aufidius or Aufidius’s family members there to kill. Aufidius cries out “insolent villain!” and the conspirators... (full context)
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Aufidius stands on Coriolanus’s body and addresses the Volscian people. The Volscian lords, meanwhile, lament the... (full context)
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...says that Coriolanus’s own impatience takes some of the blame of his death away from Aufidius. Aufidius’s rage has now subsided, and he is struck with sorrow. He says that he... (full context)