American Rhetoric: Movie Speech
"Julius Caesar" (1953)
Marc Antony Addresses Roman Citizenry on the Death of Julius Caesar
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.
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.
You all did see that on the Lupercal I thrice presented him a kingly crown -- which he did thrice refuse. Was this ambition?
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.
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.
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!
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?
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.
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.
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!