RepublicTHIS IS NOT MY ORIGINAL WRITE UP. MARK ANTONY’S SPEECH (Blanks [—] left for citizens words) Friends, Romans, countrymen, give me your attention. I have come here to bury Caesar, not to praise him. The evil that men do is remembered after their deaths, but the good is often buried with them. It might as well be the same with Caesar. The noble Brutus told you that Caesar was ambitious. If that’s true, it’s a serious fault, and Caesar has paid seriously for it. With the permission of Brutus and the others—for Brutus is an honorable man; they are all honorable men—I have come here to speak at Caesar’s funeral.
He was my friend, he was faithful and just to me. But Brutus says he was ambitious, and Brutus is an honorable man. He brought many captives home to Rome whose ransoms brought wealth to the city. Is this the work of an ambitious man? When the poor cried, Caesar cried too. Ambition shouldn’t be so soft. Yet Brutus says he was ambitious, and Brutus is an honorable man. You all saw that on the Lupercal feast day I offered him a king’s crown three times, and he refused it three times. Was this ambition? Yet Brutus says he was ambitious. And, no question, Brutus is an honorable man.
I am not here to disprove what Brutus has said, but to say what I know. You all loved him once, and not without reason. Then what reason holds you back from mourning him now? Men have become brutish beasts and lost their reason! Bear with me. My heart is in the coffin there with Caesar, and I must pause until it returns to me. — Only yesterday the word of Caesar might have stood against the world. Now he lies there worth nothing, and no one is so humble as to show him respect. Oh, sirs, if I stirred your hearts and minds to mutiny and rage, I would offend Brutus and Cassius, who, you all know, are honorable men.
I will not do them wrong. I would rather wrong the dead, and wrong myself and you, than wrong such honorable men. But here’s a paper with Caesar’s seal on it. I found it in his room—it’s his will. If you could only hear this testament—which, excuse me, I don’t intend to read aloud—you would kiss dead Caesar’s wounds and dip your handkerchiefs in his sacred blood, and beg for a lock of hair to remember him by. And when you died, you would mention the handkerchief or the hair in your will, bequeathing it to your heirs like a rich legacy. — Be patient, gentle friends, I must not read it.
It isn’t proper for you to know how much Caesar loved you. You aren’t wood, you aren’t stones—you’re men. And, being men, the contents of Caesar’s will would enrage you. It’s better that you don’t know you’re his heirs, for if you knew, just imagine what would come of it! — Will you be patient? Will you wait awhile? I’ve said too much in telling you of it. I’m afraid that I wrong the honorable men whose daggers have stabbed Caesar. — You force me to read the will, then? Then make a circle around Caesar’s corpse, and let me show you the man who made this will.
Shall I come down? Will you let me? — If you have tears, prepare to shed them now. You all know this cloak. I remember the first time Caesar ever put it on. It was a summer’s evening; he was in his tent. It was the day he overcame the Nervii warriors. Look, here’s where Cassius’s dagger pierced it. See the wound that Casca made. Through this hole beloved Brutus stabbed. And when he pulled out his cursed dagger, see how Caesar’s blood came with it, as if rushing out a door to see if it was really Brutus who was knocking so rudely. For Brutus, as you know, was Caesar’s angel.
The gods know how dearly Caesar loved him! This was the most unkind cut of all. For when the noble Caesar saw him stab, he understood his beloved Brutus’s ingratitude; it was stronger than the violence of traitors, and it defeated him, bursting his mighty heart. And at the base of Pompey’s statue, with his cloak covering his face, which was dripping with blood the whole time, great Caesar fell. Oh, what a fall it was, my countrymen! Then you and I and all of us fell down, while bloody treason triumphed. Oh, now you weep, and I sense that you feel pity. These are gracious tears.
But if it overwhelms you to look at Caesar’s wounded cloak, how will you feel, kind men, now? Look at this, here is the man—scarred, as you can see, by traitors. — Wait, countrymen. — Good friends, sweet friends, don’t let me stir you up to such a sudden mutiny. Those who have done this deed are honorable. I don’t know what private grudges they had that made them do it. They’re wise and honorable, and will no doubt give you reasons for it. I haven’t come to steal your loyalty, friends. I’m no orator, as Brutus is. I’m only, as you know, a plain, blunt man who loved his friend, and the men who let me speak know this well.
I have neither cleverness nor rhetorical skill nor the authority nor gesture nor eloquence nor the power of speech to stir men up. I just speak directly. I tell you what you already know. I show you sweet Caesar’s wounds—poor, speechless mouths! —and make them speak for me. But if I were Brutus and Brutus were me, then I’d stir you up, and install in each of Caesar’s wounds the kind of voice that could convince even stones to rise up and mutiny. — Wait, and listen to me, countrymen. — Why, friends, you don’t even know what you’re doing yet. What has Caesar done to deserve your love? Alas, you don’t know.
I must tell you then. You’ve forgotten the will I told you about. — Here’s the will, written under Caesar’s seal. To every Roman citizen he gives—to every individual man—seventy-five drachmas. — Listen to me patiently. — Also, he’s left you all his walkways—in his private gardens and newly planted orchards—on this side of the Tiber River. He’s left them to you and to your heirs forever—public pleasures in which you will be able to stroll and relax. Here was a Caesar! When will there be another like him? — Now, let it work. Trouble, you have begun—take whatever course you choose!