Thus the curdling of the king's blood introduced to us aurally may be said to represent the origin of the hidden "impostume
" (IV.iv.27), which proves to be poisoning Claudius's Denmark.
Stanley Cavell has characterized Coriolanus's "speech, when angry, as being the spitting forth of the matter of an abscess." (27) He does so because Shakespeare's source, Plutarch, in his "Life of Caius Marcius Coriolanus," had written that this warrior "spitteth out anger from the most weake and passioned parte of the harte, much like the matter of an impostume
." (28) Shakespeare, however, revises this voice from an abscessed to a diarrhetic one, partly in accordance, we shall see, with his long-standing interest in dramatizing, for shifting purposes, backward, excremental speech.