Coriolanus

Virgilia Character Analysis

Read our modern English translation.
Virgilia is the wife of Coriolanus. While Volumnia hopes that Coriolanus has been wounded, Virgilia simply hopes that he is safe—she is much more submissive and less forceful in her opinions than her mother-in-law. Virgilia is also more emotional than Volumnia, and she worries when her husband is gone. She is very quiet, and is even referred to as “silence” by Coriolanus.

Virgilia Quotes in Coriolanus

The Coriolanus quotes below are all either spoken by Virgilia or refer to Virgilia. 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 1, Scene 3 Quotes

The breasts of Hecuba,
When she did suckle Hector, looked not lovelier
Than Hector’s forehead when it spit forth blood
At Grecian sword, contemning.

Related Characters: Volumnia (speaker), Caius Martius / Coriolanus, Virgilia
Related Symbols: Body Parts, Wounds and Blood
Page Number: 1.3.43-46
Explanation and Analysis:
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Act 2, Scene 1 Quotes

MENENIUS: Is he not
wounded? He was wont to come home wounded.
VIRGILIA: O no, no, no!
VOLUMNIA: O, he is wounded, I thank the gods for ’t.
MENENIUS: So do I too, if it be not too much. Brings he
victory in his pocket, the wounds become him.

Related Characters: Volumnia (speaker), Virgilia (speaker), Menenius Agrippa (speaker), Caius Martius / Coriolanus
Related Symbols: Wounds and Blood
Page Number: 2.1.122-127
Explanation and Analysis:
Quotes explanation short mobile
Act 4, Scene 2 Quotes

Anger’s my meat. I sup upon myself
And so shall starve with feeding.
Come, let’s go.
Leave this faint puling, and lament as I do,
In anger, Juno-like. Come, come, come.

Page Number: 4.2.68-72
Explanation and Analysis:
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Act 5, Scene 3 Quotes

Volumnia: This fellow had a Volscian to his mother,
His wife is in Corioles, and his child
Like him by chance.—Yet give us our dispatch.
I am hushed until our city be afire,
And then I’ll speak a little.
(He holds her by the hand, silent.)
CORIOLANUS: O mother, mother!
What have you done?

Related Characters: Caius Martius / Coriolanus (speaker), Volumnia (speaker), Virgilia, Young Martius, Valeria
Page Number: 5.3.200-206
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:
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Virgilia Character Timeline in Coriolanus

The timeline below shows where the character Virgilia appears in Coriolanus. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Act 1, Scene 3
War, Violence, and Masculinity Theme Icon
Family and Femininity Theme Icon
Heroism vs. Humanity Theme Icon
In Caius Martius’s house, Volumnia, his mother, and Virgilia, his wife, sew. Volumnia tells her daughter to be more comfortable. If her son were... (full context)
War, Violence, and Masculinity Theme Icon
Family and Femininity Theme Icon
Heroism vs. Humanity Theme Icon
Virgilia asks Volumnia what would have happened if Martius died as a child in that first... (full context)
War, Violence, and Masculinity Theme Icon
Family and Femininity Theme Icon
Heroism vs. Humanity Theme Icon
Virgilia asks Volumnia to let her leave, but Volumnia tells her to stay. She thinks she... (full context)
War, Violence, and Masculinity Theme Icon
Family and Femininity Theme Icon
Valeria enters, greets Volumnia and Virgilia, and asks how Virgilia’s son Young Martius is doing. He prefers swords and military drums... (full context)
War, Violence, and Masculinity Theme Icon
Family and Femininity Theme Icon
Heroism vs. Humanity Theme Icon
Valeria tells Virgilia to leave her sewing and come with her, but Virgilia doesn’t want to go outside... (full context)
Act 2, Scene 1
Politics, Class, and Rome Theme Icon
Language and Names Theme Icon
War, Violence, and Masculinity Theme Icon
Family and Femininity Theme Icon
Heroism vs. Humanity Theme Icon
...more conversation with them would “infect [his] brain.” Menenius begins to exit, but then Volumnia, Virgilia, and Valeria enter. (full context)
Politics, Class, and Rome Theme Icon
War, Violence, and Masculinity Theme Icon
Family and Femininity Theme Icon
Heroism vs. Humanity Theme Icon
...jokes about his health and asks if Martius is wounded (which he thinks is preferable). Virgilia hopes he isn’t wounded, but Volumnia thanks the gods that he is wounded, as does... (full context)
Language and Names Theme Icon
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Heroism vs. Humanity Theme Icon
...comments on his new name. When Volumnia mentions his wife, who is crying, Coriolanus lauds Virgilia as his “gracious silence,” and jokes that she would laugh if he came home in... (full context)
Act 4, Scene 1
Politics, Class, and Rome Theme Icon
Language and Names Theme Icon
War, Violence, and Masculinity Theme Icon
Family and Femininity Theme Icon
Heroism vs. Humanity Theme Icon
Outside a gate of Rome, Coriolanus is saying farewell to Volumnia, Virgilia, Menenius, Cominius, and the young nobles of Rome. He tells them to leave their tears,... (full context)
Act 4, Scene 2
Politics, Class, and Rome Theme Icon
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Family and Femininity Theme Icon
...should tell the people that “their great enemy is gone.” The aedile exits, and Volumnia, Virgilia, and Menenius enter the street. Sicinius wants to avoid them, since Volumnia is apparently mad,... (full context)
Politics, Class, and Rome Theme Icon
Language and Names Theme Icon
War, Violence, and Masculinity Theme Icon
Family and Femininity Theme Icon
Heroism vs. Humanity Theme Icon
...sword in hand and Sicinius’s family in front of him. Sicinius asks what then, and Virgilia responds that Coriolanus would “make an end of [Sicinius’s] posterity.” (full context)
Language and Names Theme Icon
Family and Femininity Theme Icon
...dinner with him, but she responds “Anger’s my meat. I sup upon myself.” She tells Virgilia to follow her and to stop crying. Instead, Volumnia says, Virgilia should lament in anger... (full context)
Act 4, Scene 6
Politics, Class, and Rome Theme Icon
Family and Femininity Theme Icon
...willing to compromise. He has no idea where Coriolanus is, and neither do Volumnia or Virgilia. (full context)
Act 5, Scene 1
Politics, Class, and Rome Theme Icon
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War, Violence, and Masculinity Theme Icon
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Heroism vs. Humanity Theme Icon
...a letter promising not to yield. Cominius thinks the only hope is that Volumnia and Virgilia are able to convince Coriolanus to spare Rome. (full context)
Act 5, Scene 3
Politics, Class, and Rome Theme Icon
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...distance makes Coriolanus question if he’ll have to break the vow he just made, and Virgilia, Volumnia, Valeria, and young Martius enter attended by servants. Coriolanus says that his wife is... (full context)
Politics, Class, and Rome Theme Icon
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Virgilia greets Coriolanus, and he says that her eyes are not the same as he saw... (full context)
Politics, Class, and Rome Theme Icon
Language and Names Theme Icon
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...good soldier. Volumnia has young Martius kneel, and she says that he, herself, Valeria, and Virgilia are now suitors to Coriolanus. Coriolanus responds that before they ask, they should remember that... (full context)
Politics, Class, and Rome Theme Icon
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...rather than because they didn’t ask. She begins by telling him how unfortunate she and Virgilia are, since while they should be overjoyed to see Coriolanus, due to the circumstances they... (full context)
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...her lengthy speech, Volumnia repeatedly asks why Coriolanus will not speak to her, invoking both Virgilia and young Martius to help her convince him. She claims that “There’s no man in... (full context)
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Coriolanus turns away, and Volumnia instructs Virgilia and Valeria to kneel with her to shame him. They kneel, and Volumnia says they’ll... (full context)
Act 5, Scene 5
Politics, Class, and Rome Theme Icon
Family and Femininity Theme Icon
Heroism vs. Humanity Theme Icon
In a street in Rome, a senator praises Volumnia, Virgilia, and Valeria as they pass by with other lords, calling Volumnia the “patroness, the life... (full context)