When homosociality meets homo-eroticism

Last week, I talked a little about both homosociality and homo-eroticism in Coriolanus. We see some military-based quasi-male-bonding within armies and across armies within the same rank (between Martius and Aufidius. But there’s nothing erotic in those exchanges and bonds. We also see some pretty highly charged homo-erotic imagery in that Aufidius speech responding to Martius’ defection.

But there didn’t seem to be too great a connection.

Notice I said, “didn’t.”

But looking back at an early exchange between Martius and Cominius, there is a link to that later dialog between Martius and Aufidius.

In Act One, Scene Six, Martius tells Cominius, who is pleased to find the general alive:

 O, let me clip you
In arms as sound as when I wooed, in heart
As merry as when our nuptial day was done
And tapers burnt to bedward!
[They embrace.]
  • I.ii.233-5

The language is almost identical to that from the later exchange:

 Here I clip
The anvil of my sword …
I loved the maid I married; never man
Sighed truer breath. But that I see thee here,
Thou noble thing, more dances my rapt heart
Than when I first my wedded mistress saw
Bestride my threshold.
  • IV.v.113-4,118-22

The same use of the verb “clip,” to wrap around. The same (somewhat denigrated) recollection of their own wedding nights.

Why parrot this exact language if there isn’t a connection? Is this Coriolanus’ own homo-eroticism?

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