American Rhetoric: Movie Speech

"Julius Caesar" (1953)

 

Marc Antony Addresses Roman Citizenry on the Death of Julius Caesar

Audio mp3 delivered by Marlon Brando

Marc Antony: Friends, Romans, countrymen, lend me your ears. I come to bury Caesar, not to praise him. The evil that men do lives after them. The good is oft interred with their bones. So let it be with Caesar. The noble Brutus hath told you Caesar was ambitious. If it were so, it was a grievous fault, and grievously hath Caesar answered it.

Here, under leave of Brutus and the rest -- for Brutus is an honourable man; so are they all, all honourable men -- come I to speak in Caesar's funeral. He was my friend, faithful and just to me.

But Brutus says he was ambitious, and Brutus is an honourable man.

He hath brought many captives home to Rome whose ransoms did the general coffers fill. Did this in Caesar seem ambitious? When that the poor have cried, Caesar hath wept. Ambition should be made of sterner stuff.

Yet, Brutus says he was ambitious, and Brutus is an honourable man.

You all did see that on the Lupercal I thrice presented him a kingly crown -- which he did thrice refuse. Was this ambition?

Yet, Brutus says he was ambitious, and sure he is an honourable man.

I speak not to disprove what Brutus spoke. But here I am to speak what I do know. You all did love him once, not without cause. What cause withholds you, then, to mourn for him? Oh, Judgment, thou art fled to brutish beasts, and men have lost their reason.

(Bear with me: My heart is in the coffin there with Caesar, and I must pause till it come back to me.

  Roman Citizen I: Methinks there is much reason in his saying.

Roman Citizen II: If thou consider rightly of the matter, Caesar has had great wrong.

Roman Citizen III: Has he, masters? I fear there will a worse come in his place.

Roman Citizen IV: Marked ye his words? He would not take the crown. Therefore 'tis certain he was not ambitious.

Roman Citizen V: If it be found so, some will dear abide it.

Roman Citizen III: There's not a nobler man in Rome than Antony.

Roman Citizen IV: Now mark him. He begins again to speak.

Roman Citizen VI: Poor soul. His eyes are red as fire with weeping.

Marc Antony: But yesterday the word of Caesar might have stood against the world. Now lies he there and none so poor to do him reverence. Oh masters, if I were disposed to stir your hearts and minds to mutiny and rage, I should do Brutus wrong, and Cassius wrong --  who, you all know, are honourable men. I will not do them wrong. I rather choose to wrong the dead, to wrong myself and you, than I will wrong such honourable men. But here's a parchment with the seal of Caesar. I found it in his closet. 'Tis his will. Let but the commons hear this testament which, pardon me, I do not mean to read -- and they would go and kiss dead Caesar's wounds, and dip their napkins in his sacred blood, yea, beg a hair of him for memory, and, dying, mention it within their wills, bequeathing it as a rich legacy unto their issue.

  Roman Citizen IV: We'll hear the will. Read it, Mark Antony.

Roman Citizen I: We will hear Caesar's will.

Roman Citizens: The will, the will! We will hear Caesar's will.

Marc Antony: Have patience, gentle friends. I must not read it. It is not meet you know how Caesar loved you. You are not wood; you are not stones, but men; and, being men, hearing the will of Caesar, it will inflame you; it will make you mad. 'Tis good you know not that you are his heirs. For, if you should, oh, what would come of it!

 

Roman Citizen IV: Read the will; we'll hear it, Antony. You shall read us the will, Caesar's will.



Marc Antony: Will you be patient? Will you stay awhile? I have overshot myself to tell you of it. I fear I wrong the honourable men whose daggers have stabbed Caesar.

 

Roman Citizen IV: They were traitors: honourable men!


Roman Citizen VI: Traitor! Murderers!

 

Marc Antony: You will compel me, then, to read the will? Then make a ring around the corpse of Caesar, and let me show you him that made the will. Shall I descend? And will you give me leave?

 

Roman Citizens: Come down.

Roman Citizen II: Descend.

Roman Citizen III: You shall have leave.

 

[Marc Antony descends]



Marc Antony: If you have tears, prepare to shed them now. You all do know this mantle. I remember the first time ever Caesar put it on. 'Twas on a summer's evening in his tent, that day he overcame the Nervii. Look, in this place ran Cassius' dagger through. See what a rent the envious Casca made. Through this the well-beloved Brutus stabbed, and as he plucked his cursed steel away, mark how the blood of Caesar followed it, as rushing out of doors, to be resolved if Brutus so unkindly knocked, or no. For Brutus, as you know, was Caesar's angel. Judge, oh ye gods, how dearly Caesar loved him. This was the most unkindest cut of all. For when the noble Caesar saw him stab, ingratitude, more strong than traitors' arms, quite vanquished him. Then burst his mighty heart. And in his mantle muffling up his face, even at the base of Pompey's statue, which all the while ran blood, great Caesar fell. Oh, what a fall was there, my countrymen. Then I, and you, and all of us fell down, whilst bloody treason flourished over us.

Now you weep. And I perceive you feel the dint of pity. These are gracious drops. Kind souls, what weep you when you but behold our Caesar's vesture wounded? Look you here. Here is himself, marred, as you see, with traitors.

 

Roman Citizen II: Oh, noble Caesar!

Roman Citizen VI: Oh, most bloody sight!

Roman Citizen II: Traitors. Villains.

Roman Citizen III: We will be revenged!

Roman Citizen IV: Let not a traitor live!

 

Marc Antony: Stay, countrymen. Good friends, sweet friends, let me not stir you up to such a sudden flood of mutiny. They that have done this deed are honourable. What private griefs they have, alas, I know not that made them do it. They are wise and honourable, and will, no doubt, with reasons answer you. I come not, friends, to steal away your hearts. I am no orator, as Brutus is; but, as you know me all, a plain blunt man that love my friend. And that they know full well that gave me public leave to speak of him. For I have neither wit, nor words, nor worth, action, nor utterance, nor the power of speech to stir men's blood. I only speak right on. I tell you that which you yourselves do know. Show you sweet Caesar's wounds, poor poor dumb mouths, and bid them speak for me. But were I Brutus, and Brutus Antony, there were an Antony would ruffle up your spirits and put a tongue in every wound of Caesar that should move the stones of Rome to rise and mutiny.


All Roman Citizens: Mutiny!

Marc Antony: Yet hear me, countrymen. Yet hear me speak. Why, friends, you go to do you know not what. Wherein hath Caesar thus deserved your loves? Alas, you know not.  I must tell you then, you've forgot the will I told you of. Here is the will, and under Caesar's seal. To every Roman citizen he gives, to every several man, seventy-five drachmas.

Moreover, he hath left you all his walks, his private arbors and new-planted orchards on this side Tiber. He hath left them you, and to your heirs for ever, common pleasures to walk abroad and recreate yourselves. Here was a Caesar. When comes such another?!

Lady Citizen: Never! Never!

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