Deliberate misunderstanding

This summer’s Shakespeare on the (Boston) Common is Coriolanus.

I must be honest – I had not read the play. We read the obligatory tragedies in high school: Romeo and Juliet, Julius Caesar, Hamlet and Macbeth. Also, we went to see The Taming of the Shrew as performed by an all-female cast (awesome). In college, I took a class on Shakespeare’s comedies: All’s Well that Ends Well, As You Like It, The Merchant of Venice, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Much Ado About Nothing, Twelfth Night and The Winter’s Tale. 

Despite only reading the synopsis on Wikipedia and skimming the first scene, I think I followed along pretty well. And I enjoyed the play. And the actress who played Volumnia was amazing. But I really couldn’t understand why it was a tragedy. Coriolanus isn’t a tragic hero; he’s a rich douchebag.

I got to thinking – maybe this was a commentary on Mitt Romney? If so, might I recommend the following line to be inserted somewhere in III, i?:

Junius Brutus: So, Caius Marcius Coriolanus, do you follow chariot racing?

Coriolanus: Not as closely as some of the most ardent fans, but I have some friends who are chariot team owners.