The people of Rome are starving, kindling unrest and rioting. Their anger turns particularly against the arrogant Caius Marcius, who makes efforts to hide his contempt for the common man. The riots are halted by a war with the neighboring Volscians, in which Marcius gains glory leading the Roman army in the battle for the town of Corioli. Now titled Coriolanus, he returns to Rome a hero and is selected to take a seat in the senate. But his inability to show humility, or to mask his disdain soon turns the populace against him, forcing him into exile. Shakespeare's ultimate tragedy portrays an exceptional soldier who has place in society, who cant accept mundane compromise for peace and is guided by a naive machismo. Seldom performed, Coriolanus, is a captivating study of public and personal life and of the complexities and tension that marked Roman society.