Famous speeches – Friends Romans Countrymen

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by William Shakespeare

Julius Caesar
Act 3, Scene 2,

The “Friends Romans Countrymen” speech is a great example of a good speech.
From the start the first three words fit into the rule of three a technique not fully identified for a few hundred years. This was perhaps my first experience of a the power of a good speech – the ability of a speaker to convince an audience of their point of view. I particularly love the way in which he is able to turn the word honourable around to in fact mean dishonourable. I always chuckle when I hear British Members of Parliament talking about their Honourable Friends”.

Mark 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?
O judgement! 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.

To be or not to be speech >>


Published On: 17th Jan 2009

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  1. this is crazy homey skillet

    hey I'm asshole 31 May at 2:33 am
  2. how sweet!!!

    y_blue 25 Sep at 5:36 am
  3. Excellent speech one could give at that time.

    kris 24 Sep at 2:10 am
  4. Its very nice yo yo its so good

    sarthak 16 Nov at 1:20 pm
  5. To know it better

    Victor Morgan 25 Mar at 5:18 pm
  6. awesome..!! shakespeare rocks…

    Roshna Riaz 11 Jul at 8:59 am
  7. Excellent speech one could give at that time.”

    And waiting a thousand and six hundred and forty-two years before actually inventing it was a pretty excellent feature of it as well.

    The ‘best’ historical reports on what happened at that time was that Marcus Antonius immediately left Rome on 15 March 44 B.C. upon being prevented – whether or not actually, as opposed to for propaganda purposes – from meeting up with Caesar while the latter was walking to the Roman Senate with his entourage, and that he did not return to Rome again until the next day, when it seemed sufficiently clear to him that he was not also a target of the assassination plot, and that it was safe for him return to Rome to use his role as then sole proconsul to seize sole control over the Republic’s treasury

    In any event, this would mean that the scene drawn by William Shakespeare likely never happened, certainly not as he portrayed with Marcus Antonius speaking after Marcus Junius Brutus had delivered his own eulogy. It’s also worth emphasizing that Gaius Julius Caesar and Marcus Antonius were the two Roman proconsuls coming into the date of the assassination, jointly charged with chief executive responsibility over the Republic of Rome, that the Republic’s accounts fell largely if not entirely within the responsibility of Marcus Antonius, and the Marcus Antonius himself was not and had not been deposed from his role as proconsul as a consequence of the assassination.

    That does not mean necessarily that Shakespeare’s drama did not succeed in capturing the POSSIBLE essence of what Marcus Antonius then succeeded in doing, that is, in speaking to the Senate to placate not just the Senate and but other powerful factions, such as the leading military leaders, such that he could continue to serve out his term as proconsul, tho from that point on along with the newly proclaimed proconsul Dolabella, one of Marcus Antonius’ political rivals, as the substitute to carry out the remaining term of Gaius Junius Caesar to the end of that calendar year.

    Avattoir 1 Feb at 8:16 pm
  8. such an amazing speech . Mark Antony was really a true friend of Caesar

    Sk0608 5 May at 10:39 am
  9. This is not the full speech…..after this speech the people begin to beg Antony to read Caesar’s will in which Caesar asked to give every roman 75 drachmas and his personal land.

    Ad 19 Jul at 3:03 pm
  10. The good is oft interred with their bones
    So, let it be with Pm

    TailoredLake528 26 Aug at 6:31 am
  11. Lovely! The good is oft interred with them, so let it be with Antony!

    BananaBob 26 Aug at 6:33 am
  12. In referencing real history, most did not realize the powerful abilities of Octavius at the time. Caesar and his family were still mentoring him. Octavius had not been formally announced into public life, which at the time will give you your first military command.

    The only facts we do know is that at some point Mark Antony made a public address, and afterward, the killers of Caesar lost power. So historians throughout history assumed that Antony’s address represented such a powerful statement because it immediately shifted the power back to Caesar allies. We do not know the mood of Rome at the time, pro-Caesar, pro-Cicero, or something in between. However after the Antony speech, Cisero lost half of Roman support to pursue Caesar allies. This diminished the fighting force that lead to Octavius and Antony to regain control of Rome.

    John Kasparian 9 Feb at 6:57 pm