We got out of there with curses as early as we could the next morning. Even the surroundings exuded a forbidding, albeit fascinating atmosphere. As I wandered about, seeking anxiously for some means of escaping from this trap, I observed that the ground was strewed with diamonds, some of them of an astonishing size. This sight gave me great pleasure, but my delight was speedily damped when I saw also numbers of horrible snakes so long and so large that the smallest of them could have swallowed an elephant with ease.
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The plays themselves, in fact, are as divergent as their central characters. Its chief interest lies in its lyrical depiction of the spiritual awakening of the title character.
The two make an intriguing pair, and Fiennes and Jonathan Kent, who directs both, allow the audience to take in both the concordances and the discordances between them.
On a superficial level, both Richard and Coriolanus are miserable players of politics, Richard because he feels his divine right places him above consideration of the public weal, Coriolanus because he believes his martial prowess and his honor are all-justifying — and can only be tainted by the humbling necessities of political maneuvering.
One is undone because he cannot betray his integrity; the other discovers his integrity only when he is undone. Fiennes, an actor who has specialized in both good and bad guys with an aura of sensitivity, would seem a natural fit for Richard.
Also delightfully dry is Oliver Ford Davies as Menenius. Fiennes does not offer us merely a bellowing warrior whose excessive pride is his single and simple tragic flaw.
So we share his benumbed march toward vengeance, and when Volumnia bears down upon him with her plea for mercy to Rome, this most political of Shakespeare plays reaches a devastating emotional climax. Popular on Variety.
The Department of Nerdly Affairs