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Working paper

Much Ado About Body: Shakespeare's Vision of Body Politic in 'The Tragedy of Coriolanus'

Sanzhar Akayev.
This paper offers a new philosophical interpretation of the first scene of William Shakespeare’s play “The Tragedy of Coriolanus”. It analyzes Shakespeare’s vision of the “body politic” metaphor and the ways in which he used it to reflect on fundamental problems of political philosophy. These findings are backed by the comparison of the play’s storyline to its original source—Plutarch’s “Parallel Lives of the Noble Greeks and Romans”. The author shows that Shakespeare deliberately changed Plutarch’s narrative in order to explicate the problematic character of organic metaphors as such and the metaphor of body politic in particular.