Coriolanus is an exemplar of the cardinal political vice of the Republic, superbia, one of a long line of those who betrayed its collegial spirit, up to Catiline and Caesar himself — the only one who got away with it. Plutarch, Shakespeare’s source, presumably presents him as such. (Is his the companion Life to Alcibiades?) Notice how Shakespeare gets in the central metaphor and ideal of the body politic right away in Act I Scene i. The play deserves to be more popular, and perhaps the only reason it isn’t is because Coriolanus’s character makes it seem more austere than economical.