|Julius Caesar||Cassius's speech to Brutus|
|Mark Anthony's funeral speech|
|Macbeth||Macbeth's speech after hearing of the death of his wife|
|Hamlet||Hamlet ponders suicide|
|Henry V||King Henry V encourages his troops to take the city of Harfleur|
|King Henry V encourages his troops before the battle of Agincourt|
|Richard II||John of Gaunt describes England|
|Romeo and Juliet||Romeo sees Juliet at her window|
|Romeo and Juliet part after a night of love|
|Merchant of Venice||Shylock's desire for revenge|
|Portia asks Shylock for mercy|
|Cassius:||Why, man, he doth bestride the narrow world|
Like a Colossus, and we petty men
Walk under his huge legs and peep about
To find ourselves dishonourable graves.
Men at some time are masters of their fates:
The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars,
But in ourselves, that we are underlings.
Brutus and Caesar: what should be in that 'Caesar'?
Why should that name be sounded more than yours?
Write them together, yours is as fair a name;
Sound them, it doth become the mouth as well;
Weigh them, it is as heavy; conjure with 'em,
Brutus will start a spirit as soon as Caesar.
Now, in the names of all the gods at once,
Upon what meat doth this our Caesar feed,
That he is grown so great? Age, thou art shamed!
Rome, thou hast lost the breed of noble bloods!
When went there by an age, since the great flood,
But it was famed with more than with one man?
When could they say till now, that talk'd of Rome,
That her wide walls encompass'd but one man?
Now is it Rome indeed and room enough,
When there is in it but one only man.
O, you and I have heard our fathers say,
There was a Brutus once that would have brook'd
The eternal devil to keep his state in Rome
As easily as a king.
|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 answer'd 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.
|Mark Antony starts carefully, as the crowd is hostile. He explains that he is talking by permission (leave) of the conspirators, as was agreed, and he calls the conspirators "honorable men".|
|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.
|Slowly Mark Antony starts to list the good qualities of Caesar, and asks people to mourn for him. He is asking whether Brutus is right to call Caesar ambitious, but not, perhaps quite blaming him, yet!|
|You all did love him once, not without cause:
What cause withholds you then, to mourn for him?
O 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.
|Mark Antony is becoming more passionate about Caesar. He is pretending to be overcome with grief.|
|First Citizen:||Methinks there is much reason in his sayings.||The crowd begin to change their minds.|
|Second Citizen:||If thou consider rightly of the matter, Caesar has had great wrong.|
|Third Citizen:||Has he, masters?|
I fear there will a worse come in his place.
|This quiet statement is perceptive. Unfortunately no-one else notices it.|
|Fourth Citizen:||Mark'd ye his words? He would not take the crown;|
Therefore 'tis certain he was not ambitious.
|First Citizen:||If it be found so, some will dear abide it.|
|Second Citizen:||Poor soul! his eyes are red as fire with weeping.|
|Third Citizen:||There's not a nobler man in Rome than Antony.|
|Fourth Citizen:||Now mark him, he begins again to speak.|
|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.
O 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.
|Mark Antony is still calling the conspirators "honourable men" but his language is becoming more violent. He hints that Caesar's will is worth hearing. But he can't read it because that would wrong the conspirators (who he promised not to blame). Of course, he knows perfectly well what effect this will have on the crowd!|
|Fourth Citizen:||We'll hear the will: read it, Mark Antony.|
|All:||The will, the will! we will hear Caesar's will.|
|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, bearing 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, O, what would come of it!
|Now Mark Antony is calling the crowd the heirs of Caesar, which means that they will gain something from the will.|
|Fourth Citizen:||Read the will; we'll hear it, Antony; |
You shall read us the will, Caesar's will.
|Antony:||Will you be patient? will you stay awhile? |
I have o'ershot myself to tell you of it:
I fear I wrong the honourable men
Whose daggers have stabb'd Caesar; I do fear it.
|The crowd is getting worked up. Mark Antony still calls the conspirators "honourable men", and after all, their daggers did stab Caesar!|
|Fourth Citizen:||They were traitors: honourable men!||Someone in the crowd is the first to say "traitors".|
|All:||The will! the testament!|
|Second Citizen:||They were villains, murderers: the will! read the will.|
|Antony:||You will compel me, then, to read the will? |
Then make a ring about the corpse of Caesar,
And let me show you him that made the will.
Shall I descend? and will you give me leave?
|Caesar's body is below Antony. He is going to show the body with its stab wounds to the crowd.|
|Several Citizens:||Come down.|
|Third Citizen:||You shall have leave.|
|[Antony comes down]|
|Fourth Citizen:||A ring; stand round.|
|First Citizen:||Stand from the hearse, stand from the body.|
|Second Citizen:||Room for Antony, most noble Antony.|
|Antony:||Nay, press not so upon me; stand far off.|
|Several Citizens:||Stand back; room; bear back.|
|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 stabb'd;
And as he pluck'd his cursed steel away,
Mark how the blood of Caesar follow'd it,
As rushing out of doors, to be resolved
If Brutus so unkindly knock'd, or no;
For Brutus, as you know, was Caesar's angel:
Judge, O you 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 vanquish'd him: then burst his mighty heart;
And, in his mantle muffling up his face,
Even at the base of Pompey's statua,
Which all the while ran blood, great Caesar fell.
O, what a fall was there, my countrymen!
Then I, and you, and all of us fell down,
Whilst bloody treason flourish'd over us.
O, 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, marr'd, as you see, with traitors.
|Mark Antony is now making the crowd see and feel the full horror of Caesar's murder. In fact, Antony wasn't there when Caesar was stabbed, so pointing out which wound was made by who is pure drama! The sight and description makes the crowd grieve, then become angry.|
|First Citizen:||O piteous spectacle!|
|Second Citizen:||O noble Caesar!|
|Third Citizen:||O woful day!|
|Fourth Citizen:||O traitors, villains!|
|First Citizen:||O most bloody sight!|
|Second Citizen:||We will be revenged.|
|All:||Revenge! About! Seek! Burn! Fire! Kill! Slay! |
Let not a traitor live!
|First Citizen:||Peace there! hear the noble Antony.|
|Second Citizen:||We'll hear him, we'll follow him, we'll die with him.|
|Antony:||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.
|Mark Antony isn't finished with the crowd yet. He is still pretending not to criticise the conspirators, and claims that he is just speaking the truth. He hints that the conspirators may have had private grudges against Caesar, as opposed to the public reasons that they gave. Mark Antony also claims not to be such an orator as Brutus is, which is an obvious fib!|
|First Citizen:||We'll burn the house of Brutus.|
|Third Citizen:||Away, then! come, seek the conspirators.|
|Antony:||Yet hear me, countrymen; yet hear me speak.|
|All:||Peace, ho! Hear Antony. Most noble Antony!|
|Antony:||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 have forgot the will I told you of.
|The crowd have forgotten all about the will, which was what made them angry in the first place.|
|All:||Most true. The will! Let's stay and hear the will.|
|Antony:||Here is the will, and under Caesar's seal.|
To every Roman citizen he gives,
To every several man, seventy-five drachmas.
|Second Citizen:||Most noble Caesar! We'll revenge his death.|
|Third Citizen:||O royal Caesar!|
|Antony:||Hear me with patience.|
|Antony:||Moreover, he hath left you all his walks,|
His private arbours 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?
|First Citizen:||Never, never. Come, away, away! |
We'll burn his body in the holy place,
And with the brands fire the traitors' houses.
Take up the body.
|The crowd are now out of control. By the way, they never got this inheritance!|
|Second Citizen:||Go fetch fire.|
|Third Citizen:||Pluck down benches.|
|Fourth Citizen:||Pluck down forms, windows, any thing.|
|[Exeunt Citizens with the body]|
|Antony:||Now let it work. Mischief, thou art afoot,|
Take thou what course thou wilt!
|Macbeth:||She should have died hereafter; |
There would have been a time for such a word.
To-morrow, and to-morrow, and to-morrow,
Creeps in this petty pace from day to day
To the last syllable of recorded time,
And all our yesterdays have lighted fools
The way to dusty death. Out, out, brief candle!
Life's but a walking shadow, a poor player
That struts and frets his hour upon the stage
And then is heard no more: it is a tale
Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,
|Hamlet:||To be, or not to be: that is the question:
Whether 'tis nobler in the mind to suffer
The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune,
Or to take arms against a sea of troubles,
|Hamlet doesn't want to kill his uncle. He wonders whether to put up with the situation, or kill himself in despair.|
And by opposing end them? To die: to sleep;
No more; and by a sleep to say we end
The heart-ache and the thousand natural shocks
That flesh is heir to, 'tis a consummation
Devoutly to be wish'd. To die, to sleep;
|He imagines that dying is like falling asleep, a pleasant ending to his troubles.|
To sleep: perchance to dream: ay, there's the rub;
For in that sleep of death what dreams may come
When we have shuffled off this mortal coil,
Must give us pause: there's the respect
That makes calamity of so long life;
|But what happens after you die?|
For who would bear the whips and scorns of time,
The oppressor's wrong, the proud man's contumely,
The pangs of disprized love, the law's delay,
The insolence of office and the spurns
That patient merit of the unworthy takes,
When he himself might his quietus make
With a bare bodkin? who would fardels bear,
To grunt and sweat under a weary life,
But that the dread of something after death,
The undiscover'd country from whose bourn
No traveller returns, puzzles the will
And makes us rather bear those ills we have
Than fly to others that we know not of?
|Hamlet thinks that people put up with life, however unpleasant, rather than find out what happens after death.|
Thus conscience does make cowards of us all;
And thus the native hue of resolution
Is sicklied o'er with the pale cast of thought,
And enterprises of great pith and moment
With this regard their currents turn awry,
And lose the name of action.
|He feels that if you think too much about what to do, then you don't do anything. This is not necessarily so, but it is certainly true of Hamlet. He does not, by the way, kill himself!|
|King Henry V:||Once more unto the breach, dear friends, once more; |
Or close the wall up with our English dead.
In peace there's nothing so becomes a man
As modest stillness and humility:
But when the blast of war blows in our ears,
Then imitate the action of the tiger;
Stiffen the sinews, summon up the blood,
Disguise fair nature with hard-favour'd rage;
Then lend the eye a terrible aspect;
Let pry through the portage of the head
Like the brass cannon; let the brow o'erwhelm it
As fearfully as doth a galled rock
O'erhang and jutty his confounded base,
Swill'd with the wild and wasteful ocean.
Now set the teeth and stretch the nostril wide,
Hold hard the breath and bend up every spirit
To his full height. On, on, you noblest English.
Whose blood is fet from fathers of war-proof!
Fathers that, like so many Alexanders,
Have in these parts from morn till even fought
And sheathed their swords for lack of argument:
Dishonour not your mothers; now attest
That those whom you call'd fathers did beget you.
Be copy now to men of grosser blood,
And teach them how to war. And you, good yeoman,
Whose limbs were made in England, show us here
The mettle of your pasture; let us swear
That you are worth your breeding; which I doubt not;
For there is none of you so mean and base,
That hath not noble lustre in your eyes.
I see you stand like greyhounds in the slips,
Straining upon the start. The game's afoot:
Follow your spirit, and upon this charge
Cry 'God for Harry, England, and Saint George!'
|Westmoreland:||O that we now had here
But one ten thousand of those men in England|
That do no work to-day!
|King Henry V:||What's he that wishes so? |
My cousin Westmoreland? No, my fair cousin:
If we are mark'd to die, we are enow
To do our country loss; and if to live,
The fewer men, the greater share of honour.
God's will! I pray thee, wish not one man more.
By Jove, I am not covetous for gold,
Nor care I who doth feed upon my cost;
It yearns me not if men my garments wear;
Such outward things dwell not in my desires:
But if it be a sin to covet honour,
I am the most offending soul alive.
No, faith, my coz, wish not a man from England:
God's peace! I would not lose so great an honour
As one man more, methinks, would share from me
For the best hope I have. O, do not wish one more!
Rather proclaim it, Westmoreland, through my host,
That he which hath no stomach to this fight,
Let him depart; his passport shall be made
And crowns for convoy put into his purse:
We would not die in that man's company
That fears his fellowship to die with us.
This day is called the feast of Crispian:
He that outlives this day, and comes safe home,
Will stand a tip-toe when the day is named,
And rouse him at the name of Crispian.
He that shall live this day, and see old age,
Will yearly on the vigil feast his neighbours,
And say 'To-morrow is Saint Crispian:'
Then will he strip his sleeve and show his scars.
And say 'These wounds I had on Crispin's day.'
Old men forget: yet all shall be forgot,
But he'll remember with advantages
What feats he did that day: then shall our names.
Familiar in his mouth as household words
Harry the king, Bedford and Exeter,
Warwick and Talbot, Salisbury and Gloucester,
Be in their flowing cups freshly remember'd.
This story shall the good man teach his son;
And Crispin Crispian shall ne'er go by,
From this day to the ending of the world,
But we in it shall be remember'd;
We few, we happy few, we band of brothers;
For he to-day that sheds his blood with me
Shall be my brother; be he ne'er so vile,
This day shall gentle his condition:
And gentlemen in England now a-bed
Shall think themselves accursed they were not here,
And hold their manhoods cheap whiles any speaks
That fought with us upon Saint Crispin's day.
|John of Gaunt:||This royal throne of kings, this scepter'd isle,|
This earth of majesty, this seat of Mars,
This other Eden, demi-paradise,
This fortress built by Nature for herself
Against infection and the hand of war,
This happy breed of men, this little world,
This precious stone set in the silver sea,
Which serves it in the office of a wall,
Or as a moat defensive to a house,
Against the envy of less happier lands,
This blessed plot, this earth, this realm, this England,
This nurse, this teeming womb of royal kings,
Fear'd by their breed and famous by their birth,
Renowned for their deeds as far from home,
For Christian service and true chivalry,
As is the sepulchre in stubborn Jewry,
Of the world's ransom, blessed Mary's Son,
This land of such dear souls, this dear dear land,
Dear for her reputation through the world,
Is now leased out, I die pronouncing it,
Like to a tenement or pelting farm:
England, bound in with the triumphant sea
Whose rocky shore beats back the envious siege
Of watery Neptune, is now bound in with shame,
With inky blots and rotten parchment bonds:
That England, that was wont to conquer others,
Hath made a shameful conquest of itself.
Ah, would the scandal vanish with my life,
How happy then were my ensuing death!
|Romeo:||But, soft! what light through yonder window breaks?|
It is the east, and Juliet is the sun.
Arise, fair sun, and kill the envious moon,
Who is already sick and pale with grief,
That thou her maid art far more fair than she:
Be not her maid, since she is envious;
Her vestal livery is but sick and green
And none but fools do wear it; cast it off.
It is my lady, O, it is my love!
O, that she knew she were!
She speaks yet she says nothing: what of that?
Her eye discourses; I will answer it.
I am too bold, 'tis not to me she speaks:
Two of the fairest stars in all the heaven,
Having some business, do entreat her eyes
To twinkle in their spheres till they return.
What if her eyes were there, they in her head?
The brightness of her cheek would shame those stars,
As daylight doth a lamp; her eyes in heaven
Would through the airy region stream so bright
That birds would sing and think it were not night.
See, how she leans her cheek upon her hand!
O, that I were a glove upon that hand,
That I might touch that cheek!
|Juliet:||Wilt thou be gone? it is not yet near day: It was the nightingale, and not the lark, That pierced the fearful hollow of thine ear; Nightly she sings on yon pomegranate-tree: Believe me, love, it was the nightingale.|
|Romeo:||It was the lark, the herald of the morn,|
No nightingale: look, love, what envious streaks
Do lace the severing clouds in yonder east:
Night's candles are burnt out, and jocund day
Stands tiptoe on the misty mountain tops.
I must be gone and live, or stay and die.
|Juliet:||Yon light is not day-light, I know it, I:|
It is some meteor that the sun exhales,
To be to thee this night a torch-bearer,
And light thee on thy way to Mantua:
Therefore stay yet; thou need'st not to be gone.
|Romeo:||Let me be ta'en, let me be put to death; |
I am content, so thou wilt have it so.
I'll say yon grey is not the morning's eye,
'Tis but the pale reflex of Cynthia's brow;
Nor that is not the lark, whose notes do beat
The vaulty heaven so high above our heads:
I have more care to stay than will to go:
Come, death, and welcome! Juliet wills it so.
How is't, my soul? let's talk; it is not day.
|Juliet:||It is, it is: hie hence, be gone, away! |
It is the lark that sings so out of tune,
Straining harsh discords and unpleasing sharps.
Some say the lark makes sweet division;
This doth not so, for she divideth us:
Some say the lark and loathed toad change eyes,
O, now I would they had changed voices too!
Since arm from arm that voice doth us affray,
Hunting thee hence with hunt's-up to the day,
O, now be gone; more light and light it grows.
|Romeo:||More light and light; more dark and dark our woes!|
|Salarino:||Why, I am sure, if he forfeit, thou wilt not take his flesh: what's that good for?|
|Shylock:||To bait fish withal: if it will feed nothing else, it will feed my revenge. He hath disgraced me, and hindered me half a million; laughed at my losses, mocked at my gains, scorned my nation, thwarted my bargains, cooled my friends, heated mine enemies; and what's his reason? I am a Jew. Hath not a Jew eyes? hath not a Jew hands, organs, dimensions, senses, affections, passions? fed with the same food, hurt with the same weapons, subject to the same diseases, healed by the same means, warmed and cooled by the same winter and summer, as a Christian is? If you prick us, do we not bleed? if you tickle us, do we not laugh? if you poison us, do we not die? and if you wrong us, shall we not revenge? If we are like you in the rest, we will resemble you in that. If a Jew wrong a Christian, what is his humility? Revenge. If a Christian wrong a Jew, what should his sufferance be by Christian example? Why, revenge. The villany you teach me, I will execute, and it shall go hard but I will better the instruction.|
|Portia:||The quality of mercy is not strain'd, |
It droppeth as the gentle rain from heaven
Upon the place beneath: it is twice blest;
It blesseth him that gives and him that takes:
'Tis mightiest in the mightiest: it becomes
The throned monarch better than his crown;
His sceptre shows the force of temporal power,
The attribute to awe and majesty,
Wherein doth sit the dread and fear of kings;
But mercy is above this sceptred sway;
It is enthroned in the hearts of kings,
It is an attribute to God himself;
And earthly power doth then show likest God's
When mercy seasons justice. Therefore, Jew,
Though justice be thy plea, consider this,
That, in the course of justice, none of us
Should see salvation: we do pray for mercy;
And that same prayer doth teach us all to render
The deeds of mercy. I have spoke thus much
To mitigate the justice of thy plea;
Which if thou follow, this strict court of Venice
Must needs give sentence 'gainst the merchant there.
Quotes from Shakespeare's plays
© Jo Edkins 2006