Back to List of Characters

Sixth Citizen

The character 'Sixth Citizen' in the play Coriolanus is a minor character who represents the voice of the common people in ancient Rome. Although he has limited appearances throughout the play, his presence is significant in highlighting the class divide and the political unrest within the society.

Sixth Citizen is portrayed as a working-class Roman citizen who is dissatisfied with the ruling class and their policies. He is one of the plebeians who gather in the marketplace to voice their grievances and demands for better treatment. As a representative of the common people, he becomes a part of the larger mob that opposes Coriolanus, the play's protagonist, and his oppressive approach towards the plebeians.

One of the notable scenes involving Sixth Citizen is in Act I, Scene I, where he engages in a heated exchange with the patricians, particularly Marcius, later known as Coriolanus. This encounter highlights the deep-seated resentment and anger felt by the lower class towards the aristocracy. Sixth Citizen expresses the struggles and hardships faced by the common people, emphasizing their need for fair representation and equal rights.

The Role of Sixth Citizen

Sixth Citizen's character serves as a catalyst for the political turmoil and conflict that unfolds in the play. His presence emphasizes the growing tension between the plebeians and the patricians, ultimately leading to a full-blown revolt. Through his interactions with the other citizens, Sixth Citizen represents the collective voice of the lower class, amplifying their grievances and demands for social justice.

Shakespeare's portrayal of Sixth Citizen also explores the manipulation and persuasion tactics employed by political leaders to sway public opinion. As the plebeians listen to Coriolanus' persuasive speeches, Sixth Citizen stands as a stark contrast, reminding the audience of the dangers of unchecked power and the importance of representing all members of society.

In conclusion, Sixth Citizen may be a minor character in Coriolanus, but his role is pivotal in highlighting the social and political dynamics of ancient Rome. Through his interactions and passionate speeches, he brings attention to the plight of the common people and their struggle for equality. Shakespeare masterfully uses Sixth Citizen to shed light on the class divide and the consequences of neglecting the needs of the lower class, making him an important aspect of the play's overall narrative.