Sunday, January 16, 2011

Mark Antony

Classical literature, especially Shakespeare, can be a bit heavy going to read, but it's not until you really get into it that you can appreciate the emotional richness of the characters.  You can see what I mean in this speech of Mark Antonys from Julius Cesar.  This is at Cesars funeral where Brutas has left Antony to speak to the crowd and they are calling for revenge.  I've included some of the crowd dialogue to give it context.

First Citizen:
O most bloody sight!

Second Citizen:
We will be revenged.

Revenge! About! Seek! Burn! Fire! Kill! Slay! Let not a traitor live!

Stay, countrymen.

First Citizen:
Peace there! hear the noble Antony.

Second Citizen:
We'll hear him, we'll follow him, we'll die with him.

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 come to spread joy; when she arrives let me know.
People ask if I can get it up in the morning.
I tell them are you kidding I'm envious of a stiff wind.

Oh hang on. No, that's from a Rodney Dangerfield movie.

1 comment:

  1. I remember the bard's immortal line "Verily one and all, for we shall all be laid"