Name Brand - The Use of Names as Metonymy for Actions in Coriolanus

Mention Tonya Harding, Timothy McVeigh or Monica Lewinsky, and immediately the infamous deeds of each individual come to mind. Each of these names meant nothing until actions such as sex and violence became associated with them. Monica Lewinskyâs name became so recognizable that she used her name alone to try to sell a line of handbags. This concept of a name embodying of particular set of actions is significant in understanding Coriolanus. Shakespeare uses names as metonymy for only the actions of a person, illustrating both advantageous and disastrous consequences of this simplistic association.

Despite the fact that the manâs name is never revealed, the poor host who lodges Coriolanus is a principal example of the importance of linking a name and actions. Coriolanus, in trying to graciously repay people that helped him conquer Aufidius and the Volsces, speaks glowingly of a man who gave him accommodations while he was in the field. âHe usâd me kindly, he cried to meâ? (I:ix 83), Coriolanus praises, establishing that the men were close enough to cry together. Coriolanus saw the man taken as a prisoner just as he spotted Aufidius, and requests of Cominius that he, âgive [his] poor host freedomâ? (I:ix 87). Cominius is more than...

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